Jan 14, 2011

[Movies] Sleepless In Seattle (1993)

Sleepless in Seattle (1993)While I'm not big on romantic comedies, my partner is. And thus every now and then he takes the time to introduce me to some of the ones he likes and this naturally leads to all those mushy feelings, cuddling on the couch and all that good stuff. But I digress.

There are those movies out there that people sort of assume that you've seen regardless of your interest. This rarely applies to science fiction movies but this does apply to a lot of romantic comedies for some reason. I suppose they're like the Archie Comics of the movie world. Everyone has read Archie at one point in their lives or another and a lot of people like them but not many people proudly proclaim that they do. It's a weird analogy, I know, but it does work in that regard. At least from a geek perspective, I suppose - I'll try to think of a better comparison in the future.

And despite my protests to the contrary, I have to admit that I do come to enjoy a lot of these kinds of movies. And this one was definitely one of the better ones.

Sleepless In Seattle is a 1993 romantic comedy movie directed by Nora Ephron. It is patterned after the Grant-Kerr classic, An Affair To Remember and even includes the movie as part of the plot.

Tom Hanks house in "Sleepless in Seattle&...Image by | Fluke | via FlickrSam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) is an architect working in Chicago who has become a widower after his wife died due to cancer. He and his son Jonah (Ross Malinger) move to Seattle to start a new life, but of course it's not easy for him. More than a year later Sam is still struggling with his loneliness and its his son who is determined to see him turn his life around and remember how to be happy again.

So on Christmas Eve Jonah calls in to a talk radio show and describes his father's situation. The host eventually gets Jonah to put his father on the phone and in that one moment, Sam opens up and discusses his feelings of loss after his wife died. Hundreds of women across the country are moved by his confession and this also gets the attention of newspaper reporter Annie Reed (Meg Ryan). She's currently engaged to the forever nice Walter (Bill Pullman) but feels there's something not quite there in terms of their relationship. Sam's honest statement of love gets her curious and she then sets out to find out more about him and determine the identity of "Sleepless in Seattle", which is how the radio show labeled him as a caller.

To call this a romantic comedy seems like a bit of a stretch at times. The movie largely follows a somewhat somber tone all throughout. It does have its share of funny moments, which is sort of inevitable when you have both Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in a single movie. But these aren't laughing out loud moments or the kind that get you rolling on the ground. They're poignant and make you smile here and there but that's about it. This isn't a bad thing - it just sets a unique feel to the movie that makes it easy to watch and not too emotionally dragging.

Both Hanks and Ryan put on some pretty stellar performances and major kudos to both of them for a job well done. Hanks is especially believable as the widowed husband who really tries hard to get by but of course can only do so much given the circumstances. And I suppose we also have to give credit to the young Ross Malinger for showing a good sense of maturity beyond his years whether as the character or as an individual.

The writing behind this story is also quite good - but then again it does make no efforts to hide the fact that it follows the pattern of one of the great love stories of the film era. The parallels between An Affair To Remember are indeed present, but not to the extent that it makes the movie predictable or limits how far the movie can develop. So yeah, that's no easy feat to accomplish even when you're trying to get the essence of a good movie to make a new one with a different tone. You have to love writing challenges like that.

The soundtrack of this movie is a classic indeed for lonely women around the world. It's filled with timeless pieces that are clearly good for lonely, rainy nights accompanied by huge tubs of ice cream and sad movies on TV. This is not necessarily a bad thing - we all have those down days when we want to just hide away from the world with a good movie and excessive quantities of sugar. So good job for the people who put this movie together.

Sleepless In Seattle is indeed a classic in the romantic comedy collection of any true fan of classic romance and holds truths for just about anyone who has ever or is in love. It gets 4 cheesy references to An Affair To Remember out of a possible 5. If you don't already have a copy of this (which seems weird actually), the you can always get one on DVD or through whichever means feels appropriate to you.

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