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

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Goofs

9/10
Author: klf1645 from United States
5 September 2006

Several 'errors', you cover the furniture with a sheet to PROTECT it from dust, then she uncovers it by shaking the sheet all over the room? When Julia Roberts surprises her mother in disguise as a man and her mother 'feels' the mustache, I did not see a dark shading for a beard, there was none...until she drinks from the water fountain on her way out the door. It is only noticeable then. And WHY would she NEED to get rid of her wedding ring at that very moment, in the house? I would have 'lost' it on the bus or something. For someone who wants and needs to get away fast she sure took a lot of time getting that ring off and throwing it in the toilet? Her husband never used the toilet after her alleged death? That didn't make any sense to me. But overall I LOVED the movie, the plot. Julia Roberts is a favorite.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Julia & Patrick shine!

Author: Catherine Grace Zeh (FilmGirlGZ@aol.com) from Vienna, Virginia, USA
16 August 2001

Julia (Roberts) and Patrick (Bergin) shine as a battered housewife and a rich and abusive husband. I thought that Sara/Laura (Julia Roberts) looked beautiful in the black dress that she wore to the party early in the film. What scared me was all the physical violence -- Especially when Martin (Patrick Bergin) beat up Laura when she said, "I don't know the doctor, Martin." That REALLY scared me! When that happened, I wanted to scream. If I were Martin's wife, I'd either flee, get a restraining order or tell him that I want a divorce. In conclusion, I recommend this edge-of-your-seat thriller to those of you who like a nice, suspenseful thriller or are fans of Julia Roberts or Patrick Bergin. You're in for some pure thrills and a good time, so, go out to the video store, rent it or buy it, kick back with a friend, and watch it.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Intense

7/10
Author: bctxcoll from Chico, California
15 June 2000

This movie was gripping and very intense. Very clever how Laura Burney/Sara Waters (Julia Roberts) staged her own death. This movie is somewhat unpredictable. The second half is full of suspense. I just watched this movie tonight and my heart was pounding in the second half. If you want to know what happens you have to watch the movie!

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

6/10
Author: Paul Dearing (neptune@neosoft.com) from Mandeville, LA (U.S.A.)
16 August 1998

I'm a bit surprised that this movie did the business it did. Granted that the suspense piles itself up in almost unbearable doses and that Julia Roberts gives an affecting performance, I didn't find it as compelling as I was expecting. Still, I liked the movie, and it really makes you look at marital abuse in an entirely new way. B-

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Second worst big budget film I have ever seen

2/10
Author: Wilson102 from United States
10 September 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Yes there are worse movies out there. Most of them made for fun, on a shoe string budget, or as a t.v. movie of the week, but even if this was the 'movie of the week' it would rate no more than two stars. It is a poor movie about a serious subject featuring an abused woman who flees the king of the slime people in to the protective arms of the king of the wussy people. ( If this is an attempt to show that she doesn't need a man to protect her than wuss man is superfluouse to the film and ought not to be in it at all). It has no suspense, no character development, and an heroine that could be outsmarted by a rotton onion. ( I think she flushes her wedding ring on a boat with a self contained tank rather than just dropping it overboard in the ocean (where her body should be anyway) and after the husband finds her, demonstrating that she is a moron, she still makes childish assumptions that lead to almost getting her killed.) I am always amazed when I see the sort of generally high rating a movie like this gets and it makes me realize that Dr. Seuss still has a huge untapped market of people who would be challenged by his work. After I get done laughting at humanity I weep.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

"I can't live without you. And I won't let you live without me!"

8/10
Author: DAVID SIM from United Kingdom
16 October 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After Julia Roberts hit big with the vastly overrated Pretty Woman, she tried to broaden her palette and move from the bubbly, frothy rom-coms she began in. First up was Flatliners, the disappointing life after death thriller that had no idea how to tackle its subject without lapsing into cliché, and then the much better Sleeping with the Enemy.

Sleeping with the Enemy has faded somewhat over the years, even though it was a reasonable success at the time. But I think its a film well worth reexamination. It deserves commendation for having the guts to dig into domestic abuse, seen through the eyes of a wife, running for her life from an abusive husband.

The opening scenes are the best, because this is where we get to see something of they're marriage. Laura (Roberts) has been married to Martin (Patrick Bergin) for over three years (seven months, six days). Martin is handsome, wealthy, an attentive husband and he and Laura enjoy an active sex life. Director Joseph Rubin uses considerable subtlety in the early scenes to illustrate there's trouble in paradise. Like when Martin and Laura are getting ready to go to a party. Laura is all ready, but after Martin's remark about wearing a different dress, in the following scene at the party, Laura's not only changed her dress, she's changed her whole look. Her hair. Her earrings. Everything.

This continues into the next scenes. The hand towels aren't arranged properly. Something Martin has to remind Laura of. Prompting Laura to hastily rearrange the cans in the cupboard so the labels all face forward. It all builds to its crescendo when Martin talks to a neighbour. After hearing something he doesn't like ("that must be your wife I've seen staring out the window"), he suddenly hits Laura. Its a scene that shocks you into numbness. Its the first time that Martin drops his mask of smooth charisma, and reveals himself as the impulsive control freak he really is.

I wish there had been more scenes like that. I would have liked to have seen more of they're marriage. The rest of the film falls into a much more obvious stride. Laura fakes her own death, because nothing else would ever get Martin out of her life. And when he learns the deception, he begins an obsessive hunt for Laura. Its only a minor disappointment. That doesn't get in the way of a suspenseful, psycho-thriller. And Joseph Rubin keeps the screws turning with an unbearable relentlessness.

Rubin's direction is so polished the film glides at a frightening pace. SWTE loses momentum a little in the scenes without Martin, but it isn't long before he's back in the picture again, and when he is, the tension level jumps right back into the red. His whole investigation into the too many clues Laura has left behind are terrifying the way he follows them like a trail of breadcrumbs right to her new front door. In fact SWTE often reminds me of the Robert Mitchum classic Night of the Hunter. They both share a similar structure. Of someone on the run, trying to start a new life but a crazed psychotic from the past is on they're trail.

Julia Roberts is OK, if a bit too quietly played. Certainly she can be an engaging screen presence. She won a well deserved Oscar for Erin Brockovich. But she never really brings Laura to life. You never get the impression she's slowly emerging from her shell, and blossoming into a confident new woman. And her scenes with Kevin Anderson, her next door neighbour who wants to help are dreadfully twee, and drag the film right down. There's never that much chemistry between them. Besides, everyone in the cast gets completely upstaged by Patrick Bergin.

Patrick Bergin is a greatly underrated actor. With his handsome looks and winning charisma, he has all the qualities necessary to be a perfect leading man. But sadly, Bergin has never had the career he so richly deserves, even though he has talent to spare. Still, whenever someone has the brains to cast him, he never fails to steal the show, and Sleeping with the Enemy is no exception.

Bergin is a powerful presence whenever he's on screen. Like a black storm cloud on the horizon, he's come to turn Laura's sunny new life upside down. With his imposing height, silky voice and persuasive charm, he captures the attention effortlessly. He makes Martin utterly charming one minute, and then perfectly sinister the next. Clearly enjoying every minute of this, he relishes playing the irredeemable bastard. He's quite funny at times too. Martin delights in his own cruelty. He even seems privately amused by it. Why Bergin never became a major star after this is a genuine mystery. His dark magnetism propels the entire film. Without him, it would be nothing.

It all ends a bit predictably, but Sleeping with the Enemy is a worthwhile addition to the psycho-genre. The familiar story is buoyed by Bergin's captivating performance, and Rubin's dexterous direction. There's also a great musical score from the late Jerry Goldsmith. Seemingly innocuous one minute. Edgy as hell the next. Symphony Fantastique by Berlioz is put to great effect too. It chills to the bone, and works its way into your psyche so well that whenever you hear it in the future, its guaranteed to make you think of Sleeping with the Enemy.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

so so movie made better by lead performances

6/10
Author: disdressed12 from Canada
7 June 2007

i guess this movie is OK.it's about a woman who meets the man of her dreams.they get married and everything seems perfect.four years later,things appear great.then,things start to unravel,slowly at first.hubby becomes manipulative and controlling,and then verbally and physically abusive.wife escapes his clutches,moves to new town,changes identity,new job,etc.then hubby tracks wife,swears revenge for her leaving,vows to kill her.that's the gist of the story,although there's a bit more going on,but i won't give it away.Julia Roberts plays the wife and Patrick Bergin plays the psycho husband.both are good in their respective roles, but the movie itself is lacking any real intensity and even though the wife is in danger,i just never really felt her jeopardy.in fact i found the movie boring and slow.i think that had more to do with the writing than the acting.this movie is standard for this genre,not that great,but there are worse.the performances of the two leads are enough to elevate the movie.so instead of 5*,i give "Sleeping with the Enemy" 6/10

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The Husband From Hell

7/10
Author: James Hitchcock from Tunbridge Wells, England
12 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Sleeping with the Enemy" is an example of the genre which I have come to think of as the "… from Hell" movie, and which enjoyed a vogue in the late eighties and early nineties after the success of "Fatal Attraction". In this case, the villain is the husband from Hell. Laura Burney is the beautiful young trophy wife of Martin, a wealthy and successful investment adviser. On the surface, they have the perfect relationship, but in fact Martin is obsessive, abusive and violent. While out sailing near their beach home on Cape Cod, Laura fakes her own drowning and disappears to start a new life in small-town Iowa, where she meets a new boyfriend, Ben. Martin, however, discovers that she is not really dead, and tracks her down to her new home. Laura realises that she and Ben are in deadly danger…..

That might seem like a simple, and fairly trite, plot, the sort of plot which one would associate with an "issue of the month" TV movie about spousal violence. What raises the film above the level of the commonplace is the way the theme is handled. The opening scenes, dealing with Laura's life with Martin, are very good indeed. Their home is luxurious but cold and forbidding, a glass, steel and concrete Modernist palace, a reminder that architectural Modernism, even at its most stylish and elegant, lacked the humanity of the Classicism that it tried to emulate. The cold, emotionally repressed Martin is similarly lacking in human warmth. He is obsessed with order, neatness and trivial details, reprimanding Laura if the bathroom towels are not hung neatly or if the contents of her kitchen cupboards are not tidily arranged. He is prone to sudden outbursts of irrational violence, viciously assaulting Laura after falsely accusing her of infidelity with a doctor acquaintance. (As Martin has already arranged to go sailing with the man that evening and has insisted that Laura accompany him, it seems unlikely that he genuinely suspects her of having an affair; his outbursts are a means of maintaining control over her, motivated less by jealousy than by sadism).

Martin's taste in music has already provoked some comment on this board. Although it is difficult to imagine a cold fish like Martin as a lover of a wildly romantic composer like Berlioz (he strikes me as being more of a period-instrument Baroque man), whenever he makes love to Laura he likes to put the "Symphonie Fantastique" on the hi-fi, specifically the last movement, "Songe d'une Nuit de Sabbat". As this movement depicts the artist's beloved transformed into a witch and dancing at an orgy, the choice of music is doubtless intended to tell us something about Martin's personality. (Actually, it probably also tells us something about Berlioz's personality and about why his relationship with his "beloved", the actress Harriet Smithson, was not a happy one).

When, in the second half of the film, the action moves from Massachusetts to Iowa, the atmosphere changes. The film gives a more positive picture of small-town life than many recent films, as Laura (or Sara as she is now known) settles into a more tranquil existence. The dominant tones of the first half were a cold blue and white; in the second they are warmer greens, browns and oranges. Sara's new home is not a glass palace but a charming, folksy Victorian period house. Whereas Martin was meticulously dressed and well-groomed, Ben is more of a latter-day hippie, with long hair, a straggling beard and scruffy jeans. The music associated with him is not the "Symphonie Fantastique" but cheerful sixties pop like "Runaround Sue" and Van Morrison's "Brown-Eyed Girl". Julia Roberts's style of acting also changes. (This was one of her best performances prior to "Erin Brockovich", which I have always regarded as her best film). As Laura she was beautiful but vulnerable and passive. As Sara she is a stronger woman, unafraid to take control of her life.

The second half of the film is not as strong as the first. Part of the reason is that Patrick Bergin is far more memorable as the obsessive control-freak Martin than is Kevin Anderson as the kindly, happy-go-lucky Ben, and part is that the plot becomes rather predictable. There are also (as others have pointed out) a number of plot-holes; Martin, for example, seems to track Sara down rather too easily to be plausible. Nevertheless, there are a number of effective moments of suspense; the scene where Martin seems to be about to smother Sara's elderly mother but then, when he is disturbed, contents himself with putting the pillow behind her head, struck me as a very Hitchcockian touch. (The scene at the funfair may also have been homage to Hitchcock's "Strangers on a Train", in which a funfair plays an important part). The final confrontation is also very suspenseful, even if certain elements do sometimes seem less than credible. Altogether a watchable thriller. 7/10

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Flawed, But Engrossing

7/10
Author: Noirdame79 from Canada
10 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Although primarily a showcase for Julia Roberts, who had become Hollywood's latest "IT" girl after "Pretty Woman", this romantic thriller, based on Nancy Price's novel, is watchable and quite suspenseful. It cannot be denied that the book is far superior, as is the case with most film adaptations based on a best-selling novel. The film is obviously aimed at women and the "yuppie" attitude that was still prevalent in the early 1990s. In the book, the abusive husband and wife were middle-class, while in the film Martin Burney (Patrick Bergen) is a wealthy businessman, who places his beautiful wife on a shelf like a trophy, expecting perfection and exploding when she doesn't meet his qualifications. While many may argue the change in their financial status in the movie, it does show that domestic violence can happen at every economic level, in all different walks of life and societies. We are only subjected to one instance where Laura (Roberts) is beaten by her spouse, although his control over her, demands and insensitivity to her feelings has been hinted at, and she does indicate that it was definitely not the first time. The novel goes into far more graphic detail of his offenses. Sara (the names that Roberts assumes are reversed in the book) wears a wig constantly after she escapes to Iowa, while the movie only has Laura wearing a wig as she escapes, and then she has her hair trimmed a little shorter and gets a perm. Not a very effective disguise if you're trying to alter your physical appearance so the bad guy won't recognize you! When she tosses her wedding ring in the toilet and tries unsuccessfully to flush it down the drain, Martin finds it after he tears through Laura's personal belongings and cuts himself, he discovers it with no problem - did he not use the toilet in the weeks since Laura's "death"? Faking her demise, since her husband believes that she could not swim (she secretly took lessons at the YWCA, who inadvertently tips psycho hubby off - how did they find him?), she finds an ideal guy, Ben Woodward (Kevin Anderson), the local college drama professor, who embodies the sensitive, artistic dreamboat with such naturalness that you cannot help but like him. He gets her to open up (at least as far as she is capable of doing) and he senses that she is very traumatized, and is there for her when she most needs him. Anderson has rarely been seen since and I wonder what became of him - he certainly had the talent (anyone who can even partially pull off the opening number from "West Side Story" with a garden hose in tow and make it look easy must have something special), and the sequences featuring Van Morrison's Brown-Eyed Girl, and the vintage 60s tune Runaround Sue is actually quite engaging, a break from the intensity of the plot and showing some light-hearted, romantic fun.

Bergin is effective if somewhat hammy in some parts - his character, no doubt, had some kind of undiagnosed obsessive-compulsive disorder, but at times he's a little too wild-eyed, but he does have the charm masking brutality bit down quite good, as many violent offenders are skilled at presenting as a front (how can such a charming, wealthy man be such a monster in private?). Bergin, a latecomer to acting (he was a teacher for children with learning disabilities in his native Ireland), has played many villainous roles, although here it was obvious that the filmmakers were trying to get him to resemble a certain dictator (guess who!). And the fact that he seems to be able to slip in and out of her home (and rearrange her towels and condiments) without her knowing is definitely stretching it, something that Robert De Niro's character in the 1991 remake of "Cape Fear" also seemed to excel at, and Martin seems to have it too easy when tracking down his frail mother-in-law in the nursing home that Laura secretly placed her in after lying to Martin about her mother's fictional passing.

Laura is a terrified woman driven to desperation, who wants to start a new life but she is still living in fear of the man she married, who she fears (and rightly so) will stop at nothing to find her if he discovers that she has escaped him. It's nauseating when he calls her his "princess", which again, seems to indicate that she is more of a possession to him, and I wasn't particularly interested in seeing Martin's backside after he ravishes her to Berlioz's "Symphonie Le Fantasique". The cinematography is breathtaking.

The final showdown, terrifying and voyeuristic (the viewer, of course, is aware of the danger lurking in the shadows far before Laura and Ben are), and it's last resort for this young woman who found that the law could not protect her. Of course, the brief, the bad guy comes back from death momentarily part is ridiculous and clichéd, but when Laura embraces the injured Ben and the camera pulls back, showing the dead Martin, eyes open, his blood streaked hand, with Laura's gold wedding band just a few inches way, sparkling, is very compelling. The music, by Jerry Goldsmith is great, conveying sadness, terror and romance in equal amounts.

Read the book, watch the film, and draw your own conclusions.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Intense Thriller

8/10
Author: funky_cherry86 from Canada
12 August 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After seeing Sleeping With The Enemy I thought it to be one of the best dramatic films ever made Julia Roberts was phenomenal in her performance as a battered housewife. At first the movie seemed very disturbing but towards the end it turned out well.

Martin (Bergin) & Laura Burney (Roberts) have been married for 4 years and they appear to be one of the most successful couples on the beach, but beneath the surface lies another terrifying reality Martin is an obsessively abusive monster who beats up his wife if the canned food isn't lined up right in the cupboards or the towels aren't folded properly. He becomes overly jealous even if she looks at another man,the abuse escalates out of control so Laura takes desperate measures by faking her own death one night during a boat trip.

She travels to Cedar Falls,Iowa to start a new life and has a new name Sara Waters pretty soon she meets Ben Woodward (Anderson)a handsome college drama teacher. When Martin discovers that his wife is still alive he's goes to extreme lengths to find her even by going to see her mother Chloe (Lawrence) for some information.

He will stop at nothing until he finds Laura and punishes her for leaving . the suspense builds up as man and wife fight and she shoots her attacker, Julia Roberts' role was similar to Jennifer Lopez's in 2002's Enough.

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