The Sleeping Dictionary
Don't let the title fool you: The Sleeping Dictionary is the most seductive argument for foreign-language education a boy ever had. Hugh Dancy is a young and idealistic colonial official posted to Britain's deep-jungle Sarawak outpost in 1939, and Jessica Alba (Dark Angel) is the "sleeping dictionary," a sexy tutor who proves that the fastest way to learn a language is through lovemaking. Guy Jenkin trades in old clichés for new ones in his revision of the exotic old melodramas of forbidden love between handsome colonial men and gorgeous, guileless native girls. Alba's accent slips and slides but she's a sweet, sexy, and beguiling presence, while Bob Hoskins and Brenda Blethyn uphold the all-important appearance of British morality. If you can overlook the contrivances, it makes for a lush romantic fantasy about the triumph of love over the hypocrisy of so-called civilized society. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The film's setting was amazing, with lush tropical jungles and rivers. The plot was adventureous and playful. The main characters were engaging and fun to watch. There was great physical and emotional chemistry between the two main characters, so the love scenes were sweet and touching.
I have been recommending this film to my friends and co-workers. For me "The Sleeping Dictionary" is a sleeper that turned into a definate keeper! I will definately be looking for more films with Hugh Dancy! I love that playful and devilish smile!
The setting is Sarawak, Malaysia in 1937, when young John Truscott (Hugh Dancy), fresh out of university (where he tended to read books), has come to serve his Majesty's government as an official of the Empire. The regional governor is Henry Bullard (Hoskins), who oversees the Iban, a tribe of friendly headhunters. John, like his father, has a dream of educating the Iban children, but that requires him to learn the local language and customs. The governor arranges for John to have a "sleeping dictionary," a local girl who will both teach the young Englishmen to speak the language and tutor him in the ways of love.
The girl selected for John is Selima (Alba), who is half Iban and have British. John initially resists the second part of his education, but in the end falls in love with this beautiful and sensual woman, which violates the taboos of both cultures. Meanwhile, the governor wants his daughter, Cecil (Emily Mortimer) to marry John, and the situation conspires to give our young hero no choice but to stick to the elitist traditions of his own people.Read more ›
Pillow talk is the best way to learn foreign words, so the film says, and most guys would agree with that idea. Not John. John refused to follow the custom, but anyway you know it's Jessica Alba. Selima is a spirited girl, but this time it is not futuristic world of "Dark Angel," but deep in the forest of exotic Asia, so who can resist? But after they come to really love each other, complicated things start to happen, making them look like Romeo and Juliet, only difference being there could be a way out.
The film is actually good. Acting is superb, especially the two leads, and you got Bob Hoskins, Brenda Blethyn, Emily Mortimer, and Noah Taylor. The location is perfect because the film was shot there, so jungles look really jungles, not some park in California. The humid atmophere which must have annoyed the cast and the crew can be felt on the screen, and Ms. Alba looks like the character she is playing, even though, thanks to her former TV appearance, I still feel that she could get out of any trouble, eliminating every one of them in her way with ease.
But why three stars, you might say? Sorry, it's the story, which can be divided into two parts. The first, gentler one is much more engaging and charming than the second, contrived one.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I enjoyed this movie. I thought it was a good movie over all. Good story line and great acting. I am a fan of Hugh Dancy.Published on Oct. 9 2013 by mariavicente
Hugh Dancy is simply fantastic in this movie, the scenery is beautiful and the story line is unusual. Read morePublished on Oct. 18 2009 by A. Luke
I was astonished to read reviews stating that this film is true to the events of the time in Sarawak, as if these reviewers took the time to look up Sarawak on the internet, they... Read morePublished on June 21 2004 by J Brooke
The setting of colonial Sarawak Malaysia of the late 1930s is the turbulent and fertile ground that yields a classic tale of a love that will not be denied. Read morePublished on May 8 2004 by patrickb63
Viewers can find many things to criticize about this movie. I am partial to Hugh Dancy. For me, it made a movie I normally wouldn't see worth watching. Read morePublished on Feb. 17 2004
Now, the reason i give it 5 stars is cause of Hugh,I rented this movie about a week ago, And Hugh toppped it,He is the most gorgous thing I've ever seen. Read morePublished on Feb. 13 2004
I never, ever heard of this movie and one day i had a good deal at Hollywood video,(buy 2 get 1 free). It looked pretty interesting, so i baught it. It's an ok movie. Read morePublished on Dec 7 2003