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Sleeping with the Enemy
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Sleeping with the Enemy More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

simply intolerable and a waste of time!

Author: jahangirhussain74 from United States
9 February 2012

Sleeping with the Enemy is one of the most stupid Hollywood films I've ever seen.

I wonder if this is the same Joseph Ruben who gave us classics like The Stepfather and The True Believer? His direction is seriously flawed right from beginning to the end.

It seems Ruben was intent on destroying the novel by the same name written by Nancy Price. While Price did a marvelous job in trying to bring out the fears of an abused wife, Ruben simply takes the shine off the story and turns it into a trashy piece of a cheesy thriller.

The three lead characters of Julia Roberts, Patrick Bergin and Kevin Anderson is what makes this film simply intolerable to watch.

The character of Laura Burney is so shallow and one-dimensional. One wonders why did she decide to fake her death rather than just divorcing her abusive husband? Well she explains only once in the movie that if she ever tried to involve the police or the law, her husband would "punish" her. That's about it! Laura was not a mailed-in bride so we wonder why she didn't catch on to Martin's obsessive streak prior to her marriage. We don't even know much about Laura. All we know that she's afraid of her husband. That's why she was planning an escape for an infinite amount of time. We understand she wants to escape from her psychopath husband but why would she leave behind a substantial clue like flushing her wedding ring down the toilet rather than just pawning it somewhere else? I never liked Julia Roberts. Her acting style doesn't impress me that much. She can't deliver lines effectively. And her acting in this movie proves me right! Every time she appears in this movie, she looks constipated which makes it really hard to believe why anyone might be attracted to her. The fact that this movie takes it premise so seriously makes Roberts' bland performance stick out even more glaringly. After coming high off her success of "Pretty Woman," this movie garnered a huge audience in 1991, making over a $100 million. Money literally wasted!

It's the portrayal of the abusive husband played by Patrick Bergin (whom I've never heard of before) that makes this film a cheap thriller which is remotely scary. Bergin's constant attempts to cover up his Irish accent make the situation even worse and render his character robotic. He wears a wooden expression on his face and the scene where he physically abuses Roberts isn't scary at all. His eyes just lack the flash when he goes from normal to crazy. There's no sense of control over his wife. It's simply told to us. I think an actor like Peter Coyote would've done a much better job than the wooden Bergin who delivers a flat monotone character.

Kevin Anderson's (whom I've never heard of before either) Ben is also a washout. He plays a drama teacher but his mannerisms render his character to a null. We never understand what draws him to Laura. Rather, he comes across as creepy when he tries to woo Laura. And this guy has so much facial hair which makes it hard to tell what emotion he's feeling. A muppet could have done a better job. Also, Anderson and Roberts share a zero chemistry together.

So, basically this movie is a love triangle with three dull, one-dimensional characters. There's nothing really to take from this movie. It pretty much relied on Roberts' star power. I don't mind giving a movie that took some time to create a lot of critical thinking, but this one is the result of lazy writing and deserves no analysis of the story. Don't watch it. It's not even "so bad it's good." It's just plain stupid and thoughtless, even for an early '90s piece.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Creepy, disturbing and emotional thriller

8/10
Author: Dianafan79 from United Kingdom
29 May 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Sleeping With The Enemy is a powerful movie about one man's obsession and violence towards his wife and her desperate bid to escape from them. Julia Roberts is very powerful as the abused wife, Laura and Patrick Bergin is cold and malicious as her husband, Martin.

The film has a very strong introduction, in which the scene is set. On the surface Laura Burney has everything. A nice, huge ocean front house and a husband that appears to dote on her. But, as we see all is not perfect. We first see Martin's control over his wife when she is dressing for a party and she is wearing a lovely dress, but her husband requests she wears a slinky, backless number and Laura refers to how cold it is outside. The next scene cuts to them at the mentioned party and she is indeed, wearing the dress he orders her to. Throughout the next few scenes you see Martin and all his control freak ways. She has to line up the bathroom towels as he likes them, puts the kitchen larder in order just as he likes it. There are also a couple of sex scenes too, in which you see Laura barely able to put a face on the fact she is not liking her husband being anywhere near her.

Finally, after a beating Laura realised enough is enough and when her husband tells her they are going sailing, she plans her escape.

The rest of the film shows how Laura changes her name and goes to live in Iowa where her mother, who had suffered a stroke, is in a nursing home. She moves into a huge family sized house and meets a charming and friendly man from next door, Ben who helps her to adapt to a more normal life. Although I like the film, it's in this part that I feel the film starts to drag a slight bit but the performances are still strong.

In the end, her husband who, upon finding Laura's discarded wedding ring, tracks her down using private detectives. I wont tell you the ending but it's a powerful climatic ending to a film that has strength of both character and plot all the way through.

I would highly recommend this film. I feel it's one of Julia Roberts best films and Patrick Bergin is marvellous as the controlling, menacing husband. Although this has Julia Roberts in it, don't' be put off by it if your male, it certainly isn't 'just another chick flick'. It's quite suspenseful and you really do feel sorry for Julia Roberts and feel quite a strong hatred for Martin.

Another film was made a few years ago, Enough, starring Jennifer Lopez. Although it's a good film in a similar vane, I'd recommend watching this one, or at least watch this first if you plan to watch Enough. Sleeping with the Enemy could be copied but I don't think it would be equalled.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

An inspiration to women.

10/10
Author: tamimarie228 from Iowa
29 April 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Laura seems to have the perfect life. She lives in a beautiful house by the sea and she's married to a psychopath who abuses her and controls everything. Then she plans and plots and finally escapes to start her life anew but guess who is hell bent on not letting his precious wife go. I really liked this movie because it gives hope to a lot of women out there who are abused like this. This movie is just like "Enough" because they both have the same themes running through them. A woman in an abusive relationship who is rich and escapes. To all the women out there in relationships like this, just get out. Even if you just have to walk away with your two bare feet it's better than being bruised or even dead. You are important and let this movie be a tool to help you escape. I like this movie and I hope it has helped women escape from abusive relationships.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

good, haunting film

9/10
Author: plaine82 from Finland
11 February 2006

Of course it's been years since I saw this movie, but I still find it very interesting and a good movie. Just came out of TV again, and I watched it happily and keen. It's one of those films which you cannot stop watching until to the end of the movie.

Julia makes a believable job as jumpy and scared woman who's almost starting to be afraid of her own shadow. The storyline is little bit too easy and doesn't have many catches, either, but it's still very good. Maybe more details could have messed up the result. My favorite thing in this movie is that they've been able to achieve a high-level intenseness and thriller like atmosphere without using too much violence and without slaughtering a whole lot of people. Classy, I should say.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Spoilers re. Kevin Anderson

8/10
Author: Lilibetp from east orange, nj
16 June 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I actually like this movie, but I've always thought that if there were a sequel, Kevin Anderson's character would turn out to be abusive too. Something in the way he talks, always like he's trying to soothe her, almost hypnotic.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

LLAAAAUUUURRRRAAAA!!!

Author: Thornfield2 from West Valley
5 July 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

*Minor-spoilers*This movie was creepy to certain degree and it makes a single girl think twice before slipping the noose around her neck. Julia Roberts shines in her performance as the victim Laura and I really enjoyed Kevin Anderson's performance here too, as the guy next door who's trying to help her. But Patrick Bergen's performance was almost a little bit too much for me. Don't get me wrong, he's an incredible actor,and he was very convincing as Laura's sadistic ex-husband, but there were times he would bug out his eyes and do things a little too psyco. Like trying to suffocate Laura's poor blind mother in the rest home. Why? Or methodically planning to get Laura and then blatently attacking some poor schmoe in a parking lot before doing his homework and realizing he was gay and had nothing to do with his wife. Whatever. Some of these scenes were really hammed up to the point of where it was hard not to laugh. Abuse is not laughing matter, but it was the scenes with just Bergen alone and on the hunt for his long lost wife that were near crack ups.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

TOP FORM FROM JULIA A NERVY THRILLER

9/10
Author: andrew.rowlandcien (andrew.rowlandcien@btinternet.com) from Exeter England
27 March 2001

A must see film ,strong performances from the cast with Julia Roberts and Patrick Bergin stealing the show ,tense and under rated dealing well with an awkward subject which shows how well the acting was played,this film should make you a huge Julia Roberts fan

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Uber-powerful story of domestic violence and its effects

9/10
Author: Amy Adler from Toledo, Ohio
13 December 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Laura (Julia Roberts) appears to be the luckiest bride on the planet. Her husband (Patrick Bergen) is a very successful financial adviser and they have two beautiful homes, one on the eastern seaboard. She has lovely clothing and every imaginable amenity. However, appearances are deceiving. Shortly after a happy honeymoon, her husband revealed his true nature. He is a sadistic, sociopathic control freak who beats her if she so much as leaves a handtowel hanging lower than the others. He also demands sex whenever he is in the mood and never takes no for an answer. Sadly, there is no escape, as he often warns her that he can track her down anywhere, should she decide to leave him. However, Laura is desperate to get out of his clutches, naturally, so she bravely devises a plot to vanish into thin air, or that is, into the water. Her husband believes that she is afraid of the ocean but she secretly takes swimming lessons and uses her new skills to fake her own drowning when she falls off the side of a boat. Escaping to Iowa, Laura begins a new life as Sarah Waters. She even finds a kind and caring man, Ben (Kevin Anderson) living right next door to her newly rented home. But, should Laura really be confident that her crazy ex will never find out about her deception? Don't count on it! This is a powerful story of domestic abuse and its consequences. It is very difficult to entangle oneself from an abusive partner, as this film clearly shows, and those who are brave enough to try should be mightily applauded and supported. Bergen is one of the most lethal, frightening characters ever put up on the screen and his performance towers over nearly everything else. That said, Roberts is really terrific, too, as the caught-in-a-trap woman and Anderson is nice, also, as a measure of hope in her dark world. The costumes are most lovely and the film's sets beautiful, especially those in Iowa. For the record, Robert's rented home is one of the most beautiful abodes in film history and it is my personal favorite among houses. I sometimes play the film just to see the home's lovely interior and exterior. But, to get back on track, this film is a riveting piece of fiction that seems all too real, with a powerful, uber-suspenseful plot line. If you love scary, shake-my-bones mysteries, you hardly do better than this one. But, sleeping afterwards could be a short-term hazard.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

suspense, hope, and love

10/10
Author: tracy kreck from Peoria, Arizona
31 May 1999

This is definitely one of the greats in my book. Well-planned plot, great acting, wonderful sweet characters, and one wonderfully evil husband. It's amazing how they swing you back and forth from the stalking husband, to the wholesome scenes with the nice drama teacher. Well-worth watching twice. The singing and music are terrific, suspense makes you grip at your seat, heart-pounding finale...scary to think that there are men like this out there! I gave it a 10.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

At first glance, you may have watched this film...

9/10
Author: MarieGabrielle from United States
27 July 2006

and groaned- Oh no- just another vehicle for Julia Roberts- another hyped up story. Not true. When it first came out, I thought this, but have since changed my mind.

It may seem hard to believe, but the verbal and emotional abuse in this film is actually fairly common. The issues with Laura, her husband's narcissistic personality, the perfect house, the perfect wife, all are true, subtler forms. Patrick Bergin is overly- psychotic, and the perfect glass house on Cape Cod a bit too perfect, but this is how the message is conveyed to the audience.

The soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith is haunting and effective. Laura (Roberts) finally decides she has had enough, and escapes by taking swimming lessons, faking a drowning to escape the abusive husband.

Eventually she travels to Iowa, remakes her life, and even meets a new man. While the story ends a bit predictably, the beginning of the film is very telling and detail-oriented, showing Bergin's systematic breakdown of Laura's self-esteem, her isolation from society and loss of self-confidence; and then her final realization of what she must do. 9/10.

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