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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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(novel), (screenplay)
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2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Elizabeth Lawrence ...
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Harley Venton ...
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Sandi Shackelford ...
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Mrs. Nepper (as Bonnie Cook)
Graham Harrington ...
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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:

Crime | 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:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$19,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$101,580,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Upon its release, the movie ended an eleven week and almost three-month reign of Home Alone (1990) at the top of the North American box office. However, both pictures were from the same 20th Century Fox studio anyway. See more »

Goofs

When Laura and Martin are having dinner at the beach house, we see Martin pick up his wineglass. But in the next second, it is down on the table without his having time to set it down. See more »

Quotes

Martin: You sneaked off inexplicably, need I remind you how I worried?
Laura: No. You reminded me enough the night I came back.
Martin: You're not suggesting I enjoyed that?
Laura: God, no. That would make you a monster.
See more »


Soundtracks

Dream of a Witches' Sabbath
(5th Movement of "Symphonie Fantastique")
Music by Hector Berlioz
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Haunting, chilling tale of affluent spousal abuse
16 March 2006 | by (Canada) – 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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