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"It rains nine months a year in Seattle."
on February 14, 2004
In 1993, Nora Ephron directed and co-wrote the screenplay for the charming film "Sleepless in Seattle". The story, which was written by Jeff Arch, is about two strangers: the recently widowed architect Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) and writer Annie Reed (Meg Ryan). Sam lives in Seattle with his 8-year-old son Jonah (Ross Malinger), and Annie lives on the east coast and is recently engaged to the very allergic Walter (Bill Pullman). While driving from her parent's home on Christmas Eve, Annie turns on the radio, which is tuned to a talk show hosted by radio-psychologist Dr. Marcia Fieldstone (voice of Caroline Aaron). Wanting to help his dad find a new wife, Jonah calls Dr. Fieldstone who convinces Jonah to put Sam on the phone. Initially reluctant to talk, Sam suddenly lets out his emotions about how much he misses his deceased wife and how difficult it is for him to sleep at night. Hence, he is given the name of "Sleepless in Seattle" on the show. Annie is deeply moved as she hears him, as are many other women who heard the show. After discussing the show with her friend and coworker Becky (Rosie O'Donnell), Annie is determined to meet Sam, in spite of the fact that she's engaged to Walter and Sam lives 3000 miles away. Annie eventually writes to Sam in care of the radio station (along with several other hundred women who had done the same), and tries to rationalize her behavior by seeking more advice from her psychologist brother Dennis (David Hyde Pierce). Thinking that all of the women who have written could be crazy, Sam has no interest in any of them and begins to date the cackling Victoria (Barbara Garrick) after talking with his friend Jay (Rob Reiner); but Jonah likes Annie from the content of her letter and wants his Dad to fly to NYC to meet her on the Empire State Building on Valentine's Day, like in the 1957 film "An Affair to Remember".
"Sleepless in Seattle" is a very engaging and entertaining film, in part because of the touching story, but also because of the fine acting from Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Rosie O'Donnell and Ross Malinger. Other memorable characters in the film include Sam's friends Greg (Victor Garber) and Suzy (Rita Wilson); as well as Johan's 8-year-old friend Jessica (Gaby Hoffman), Claire Bennett (Dana Ivey) and the deceased Maggie Abbott Baldwin (Carey Lowell). Memorable scenes in the film include the funeral, Jonah & Sam on the phone with Dr. Fieldstone, Annie listening to the radio, Annie at work with Becky, Annie writing her letter, Annie with Dennis, Annie's trip to Seattle, Annie in NYC with Walter and the closing scenes. The film's wonderful soundtrack includes two songs performed by Jimmy Durante (1893-1980, "As Time Goes By" and "Make Someone Happy"), as well as Gene Autrey's "Back in the Saddle Again", Louis Armstong's performance of "A Kiss to Build a Dream On", and many more. The film received two Oscar nominations for Best Song and Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen.
Overall, I rate "Sleepless in Seattle" with 5 out of 5 stars. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan would perform together again in the 1998 film "You've Got Mail" (which wasn't as good). They also worked together in the 1990 film "Joe Versus the Volcano". David Hyde Pierce went on to play another psychologist shortly thereafter in the very popular 1993-2004 TV series "Frasier", which ironically takes place in Seattle.