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.
on September 23, 2003
This is a small message I wrote on a message board, and I felt like sharing this with all of you, because I don't think I can write my own review for the movie right now after having expressed myself.
This movie, is truly, for anyone who's in love, and needs to know if it's true.
(Yesterday) I was feeling depressed throughout the day. I'm sure some of you know about my situation - I'm in love with this person, and I know it's love for sure, but I just don't know how to express myself. I was able to say "Hi" to this person of Friday, and I got my own "Hello" back. The moment when we saw face to face and our eyes met - it was just overwhelming. I'm sure that some of you are probably thinking 'This kid's 15 - he doesn't know the true meaning of love!' - but I say different. I've been having to deal with this situation for a few weeks now, and after watching Sleepless In Seattle, I've come to realize that I'm truly in love. Some of the things Annie (Meg Ryan), Sam (Tom Hanks), and Jonah (the son) did drove me to tears - they even drove me to laughter, like when Annie jumped out of bed to go downstairs, get the phone and the radio, and hide in the broom closet so she could listen to Jonah on the radio.
What made it so special to me, is that even though you may think you're in love, chances are, you're really not, and you're still trying to find that special someone for you. Well, since Jonah had called in to that radio station and Annie suddenly found herself interested by this whole situation, Annie began to do crazy things, which in the end, weren't crazy at all. She told lies to her fiance so she could go to Seattle and see Sam and Jonah. When she first got off the plane, the chemistry between Annie and Sam really showed - even more so when they encountered each other at the street where Annie was almost hit by a semi, and almost by a taxi. The chemistry they had, and Annie's feelings for Sam really got to me. It showed me that I am in love, and that it's for certain. Sure, things may not work out for me, but I know I'll still be happy, being able to see this person for the rest of the year - and who knows, maybe even the next two. Maybe even after I get out of High School.
Anyway, I felt like sharing this with you all, because this is truly a wonderful movie for anyone who's in love, and is sure it's real. I'm feeling really choked up now. Hopefully I won't feel so insecure anymore - really, being who you are, makes you who you are. Chances are, the one who's meant for you may be closer than you think. Even though they may be so far away, you'll still have these true feelings inside. I'm going to bed in awhile, but I'll be checking back before I do, and throughout the following days.
I love what it says on the DVD box.
What if someone you never met,
someone you never saw,
someone you never knew,
was the only someone for you?
It just goes to show that even though we may not think it's possible, there's always the possibility that there's true love out there. No matter how close, or how far away it may be.
And that love can find you at any time. <-- A friend, who I told this to, said that should also be on the DVD box.
I hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it. Goodnight, everyone, from Sleepless In El Paso.
on February 29, 2004
Nora Ephron's SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE (1993) is a nice fairy-tale of a movie that takes its primary inspiration from a classic Hollywood film, is written & directed by a chick-flick veteran, stars a pair of actors in what is at least their third on-screen pairing, and somehow comes out smelling as fresh as a newly-picked rose. This is a perfect date film, tailor-made for Valentine's Day. It creates the proper romantic mood for you & yours, while not requiring anyone to think too hard; put it to you this way, you won't miss much during your obligatory necking sessions.
The Hollywood classic is AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER (1957), to which numerous references are made throughout this film. The two stars of that earlier picture are Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. The two stars of this film are, of course, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. The combination of them with chick-flick queen Nora Ephron would lead you to believe that this movie is super-schmaltzy. Although the story unfolds according to the predictable manipulations of Ephron, and contains too many too-good-to-be-believable coincidences, it is ripe with sarcastic humor and even downplays its own hokiness. There's even a cute reference in it that a character makes towards films of this type.
It is very well-acted. As has been mentioned, this film was released in 1993, when Tom Hanks was finding himself as an actor; in fact, his very next film was PHILADELPHIA (also 1993), for which he deservedly won his first Oscar for Best Actor in an extremely complex role. This performance, while not as deep, is still quietly nuanced--and very sympathetic. It rings true, unlike the machinations of the script. Meg Ryan is also in fine form here, really finding her own quiet nuances while avoiding her previous tendencies to play cutsy. Ross Malinger, playing the young-but-wise son of Tom Hanks' character, does very well, even if the script provides him with some pretty unbelievable things to say at times. We also get a fine performance, even if it is essentially one-note, from Bill Pullman; I loved his touching scene with Ryan at the rooftop hotel restaurant late in the film. Also adding to the festivities are Rosie O'Donnell, David Hyde Pierce and Rob Reiner; each contributing his/her own unique brand of comedy. There's even a memorable cameo by Tom Hanks' real-life wife Rita Wilson.
Lastly, I like the way this movie makes good use of its Seattle and New York City locations. SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE may not make you sleepless, but it will entertain you, and maybe even bring out some of the hopeless romantic lurking somewhere in the depths of your heart and soul.
on March 28, 2010
I first watched this movie when it first came out and watched it again this past Valentine's Day. Maybe it's where I am in my life now, but I loved it so much more this time. This is a classic that will be watched over and over again. There is so much substance to this movie that makes many of today's romantic comedies shallow. I will be watching this every year on Valentine's Day.
on April 4, 2013
While many viewers would suggest that this is a sugar-coated fantasy that shouldn't rate a second look and in making that determination they miss the entire point of the movie. The movies' underlying theme is the earnest hope that all of us have tucked deep down inside that "Somewhere" there is a person to love us. This movie, when thought about earnestly, notes the adversity that men and women must face in order to find happiness and fulfillment. However, it offers hope to those who are searching for the someone that they can connect with in their search to find someone to fill their emotional needs as a person. This movies' central theme is that their is always hope. The characters find that despite the various off-beat ways that one can find that "special" someone there is always someone to be found at the end of the search whether it be a momentary gazing or a radio talk show program. If you are a cynic you might overlook this movie but if you are like the majority of us, this movie is an affirmation of life and love.
on May 29, 2004
As a rule, I like romantic comedies. But even I can admit that most of the time, the plots are somewhat lacking, if not out-and-out "redos" of some other movie. However, not so with this movie; the storyline here a unique and charming twist. Before I begin gushing, I'll discuss the one issue I had with this movie: the sexual references. Totally inappropriate coming out of the mouth of an 8-yr old, and not what I would expect of a PG movie.
Having said that, the story, if somewhat implausible, was definitely engaging. Tom Hanks will break your heart as Sam, a widowed father trying to put the pieces of his life together--working hard to be a good father while depending on his son to help him "get out of bed in the morning, & breathe in & out all day".
Meg Ryan is always charming (well, except for in Top Gun), but Annie is probably her most charming role. Her struggle between a stable, predictable life with her soon to be husband and what she begins to perceive as her "destiny" culminates with a trip to the Empire State Building and a very touching scene as Annie hits it off with Josh who badly needs a mother's love.
The ties it makes to "An Affair to Remember" add a humorous sentimentality to this movie, but in no way "copy" the plot of the old classic. In fact, these scenes poke gentle fun at the movie, without being disrespectful or harsh.
Not necessarily a classic itself, but all in all a really good flick!
on March 19, 2004
OK, it's corny, it stars Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, but who cares? The story is perfect. It's predictable, and it's obvious what happens, but never mind. It's one of those movies that you can put your feet up, kick the cat out, and watch, without having to think about things. It's not one of those complicated movies with lots of twists and turns. It's simplistic, and that's good, when you're feeling low, or just plain normal.
Now Meg Ryan's popularity is slightly diminishing these days, and after her now infamous appearance (for UK viewers) on Parkinson, where she acted bored, and generally defensive, and refused to answer questions. These movies, along with You've Got Mail etc, are great to watch, before she became big headed and what have you.
There are a lot of references to an old movie, starring Cary Grant and Debra someone, so if you haven't seen it, it's pretty obvious (it gets explained throughout the movie, with a lot of tears from the chicks, and groans from the big hard guys), but it doesn't really add anything to the movie.
Jonah Baldwin (Tom Hanks son in the movie) is played brilliantly by Ross Malinger. He had me in fits, especially in his OTT dramatic scene, when Sam announces he's going to get laid over the weekend away with the women with the hyena laugh. Sam tells Jonah to "shut up", and Jonah comes storming back through from his room, saying "tell me to shut up". He is so adorable!
Annie (Meg Ryan) and her best friend, Becky, (Rosie O'Donnell) comes out with some great lines during this movie! Meg is playing her cute & quirky character, so she comes out with a great one: "When a man is a widower why do we say he was widowed? Why don't we say he was widowered?" and "Destiny is something we've invented because we can't stand the fact that everything that happens is accidental." Rosie's character Becky is so laid back, she's practically horizontal! Everything is said in an extremely bored manner, meaning she comes out with terrific quotes like: "A movie! That's your problem! You don't want to be in love. You want to be in love in a movie." and "Verbal ability is a highly overrated thing in a guy, and it's our pathetic need for it that gets us into so much trouble."
For a 10th anniversary edition, there isn't much on it. The cover is pretty cute (I always prefer black covers to other covers - I'm letting my 'dark' side sneak out), but the extras aren't much to write home about. You've got a music video from some guy and Celine Dion; an audio commentary by director Nora Ephron and co-writer Delia Ephron and a "Love In The Movies" featurette. Oh, and you also get some other trailers for other movies that include My Best Friend's Wedding, this film, Philadelphia, and two others, which I'd never heard of her, so that's my excuse for not remembering them!
This is a terrific movie, and despite the fact it's completely and utterly predictable, it's great. Don't argue with me.
And will someone please tell me what the hell "tiramisu" means? It's mentioned during the scene where Sam is talking about how the last time he was out there, and we never get told what it means!
on June 1, 2003
Sleepless depicts a story of romance the way many of us (men included) would like to see it. A guy that's being torn-apart inside after the loss of his beloved wife (cancer) moves himself and his son from Chicago to Seattle in hopes of making a fresh start; he ultimately realizes that, irregardless, the move has not put him any closer to recovering from his loss. This is brought to light not only by the phone conversation with a national radio psychiatrist (which is what gets the ball rolling with Meg Ryan), but through the splendid choice of music throughout the movie that let's you really know what's going on in the characters' heads. You just can't help but smile at Hanks playing catch on the beach with his "son" to "A Wink and a Smile", performed by Harry Connick, Jr. I particularly enjoyed the discussion pertaining to "The Dirty Dozen" in response to the multiple "An Affair to Remember" references. With an all-star cast, terrific musical score (featuring the likes of Nat King Cole, Connick, Jr., Joe Cocker, and many others), and directing that reminds one of "When Harry Met Sally", "Sleepless in Seattle" is sure to please all.
on May 17, 2003
A woman who is about to be married (Meg Ryan) hears a recently widowed man (Tom Hanks) speak on a radio call-in program, becomes convinced that he may be her soulmate, and decides to track him down. This gentle romantic comedy has an old-fashioned charm that will appeal to many. In fact, the filmmakers acknowledge this traditional romantic appeal by consciously referencing and evoking the 1957 soaper, "An Affair to Remember." Ryan makes this film work; her character goes to a great deal of trouble and turns her life upside down on very slim motivation, but she is able to project a belief in the material that really made me think that she might be in the grip of fate. The whole thing culminates in a sweet resolution atop the Empire State Building, resulting in a satisfying film. The one sour note was the character of Ryan's fiancée, a Very Nice Man who is so wishy-washy that his only reaction when Ryan walks out on him during dinner is a sheepish grin; but then, I suppose such uninvolved blandness is what made it possible for her to leave him in the first place.
on January 8, 2003
You could hardly do better in the romantic comedy department than this wonderfully original and witty film. Meg Ryan listens to the radio one late night and hears a recently widowed man (Tom Hanks) talking to a talk show host about the loss of his wife and his subsequent loneliness. Obsessed with this story that has touched her so, Ryan becomes one of the millions of women around the country who write to him in hopes of making a connection. Of course, her fiancé (Bill Pullman) puts a bit of a hitch in the plan. On his end of it, Hanks has enough to cope with trying to raise his son (Ross Malinger) all by himself, not to mention the recent addition of girlfriend Barbara Garrick. The story of star-crossed lovers couldn't be more delightful, but it's the little things in between that Nora Ephron brilliantly includes that make the whole thing so magical. The film rests on its two excellent stars, but also couldn't do without the marvelous support by Rosie O'Donnell, Rita Wilson and Victor Garber and the wonderful subplot that pays tribute to An Affair To Remember (which I don't even like that much in the first place!).