6.2/10
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110 user 41 critic

Sleeping with the Enemy (1991)

A young woman fakes her own death in an attempt to escape her nightmarish marriage, but discovers it is impossible to elude her controlling husband.

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Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
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4,199 ( 1,777)

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2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Elizabeth Lawrence ...
Chloe Williams
...
Fleishman
...
Dr. Rissner
...
Locke
...
Julie
Harley Venton ...
Garber
...
Woman on Bus
Sandi Shackelford ...
Edna
...
Mrs. Nepper (as Bonnie Cook)
Graham Harrington ...
Minister
...
Theater Student (as John David Ward)
Sharon J. Robinson ...
Sharon (the Nurse)
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Storyline

Laura and Martin have been married for four years. They seem to be the perfect, happiest and most successful couple. The reality of their house- hold, however, is very different. Martin is an abusive and brutally obsessed husband. Laura is living her life in constant fear and waits for a chance to escape. She finally stages her own death, and flees to a new town and new identity. But when Martin finds out that his wife is not dead he will stop at nothing to find and kill her. Written by Sami Al-Taher <staher2000@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Self-Defense is not murder See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for wife abuse terror and a sex scene | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 February 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dormindo com o Inimigo  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$19,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,777,943, 10 February 1991, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$101,599,005

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$174,999,005
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song that Ben sings when we are first introduced to him is "The Jets Song" from the play "West Side Story" See more »

Goofs

The cut/bruise on Laura's head comes and goes. After she is hit by Martin leaving a nasty abrasion on the left side of her forehead, he leaves to go to town after telling her they will sail that night. She goes outside to break the lantern, and the wind blows her hair off her forehead - no bruise. Later that night, she has her hair back in a braid, before they get on the boat - no bruise. Then, when she meets Ben a couple days later, she flips her hair off to one side and he sees the bruise. The very next day (or soon after) she has her hair back again with Ben, no bruise. See more »

Quotes

Martin: There's the telephone. You could call the police. I know your every thought, Laura. You're wondering if they can protect you. Who knows? They may issue an order instructing me to stay away from my own wife. Nothing can keep me away. I love you, Laura. I can't live without you. And I won't let you live without me.
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Soundtracks

CIRCLE OF ONE
Written and Performed by Oleta Adams
Courtesy of PolyGram Special Products
A division of PolyGram Records, Inc.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Haunting, chilling tale of affluent spousal abuse
16 March 2006 | by See all my reviews

I found this movie, if not terribly believable, very moving and emotional when I saw it some years back. Julia Roberts brings a real vulnerability to all her roles, and is perfect here as the affluent but both mentally and physically abused wife.

The sad tale revolves around an apparently perfect upper middle class couple who share a beach home...the beautiful young Laura (who has every material comfort) and her obsessive and abusive husband, Martin. Laura lives in terror of her abuser, finally seizing a chance to escape by faking her own death and and fleeing to another town, where she assumes an entirely new identity. Meanwhile, Martin becomes ballistic when he discovers that his wife is not really dead and goes after her...

I admit it, the plot is pretty far fetched, a lot of holes in the story, some events depicted not very believable. Leave your logic behind. Still, I was able to overlook all this and focus my attention on Laura's plight, hoping she could evade (or eliminate) this intellectual brute, and build a new life for herself with a new love.

The portrayal of Laura's terror is vivid as she tries to appease her obsessive husband, who becomes violent if she fails to keep the pantry shelf items in perfect alignment. The most chilling scene of all is the rape, with its accompaniment of Martin's favorite classical music, a piece which thereafter haunts his young wife. No sympathy here for the husband, whose unfolding actions simply go from unspeakable to unthinkable.

Not a particularly believable plot but engrossing, nevertheless, and a pair of vividly drawn characters who elicit strong emotions. However, the best part of this movie is definitely its message. Contrary to the typical image, spousal abuse is no respecter of social class. It would have been much more difficult for me before this film than it is now to picture an affluent, educated, sophisticated abuser.


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