After his wife Maggie passes away, Sam Baldwin and his 8-year-old son Jonah relocate from Chicago to Seattle to escape the grief associated with Maggie's death. Eighteen months later Sam is still grieving and can't sleep. Although Jonah misses his mother, he wants his father to get a new wife despite Sam having not even contemplated dating again. On Christmas Eve, Sam (on Jonah's initiative) ends up pouring his heart out on a national radio talk show about his magical and perfect marriage to Maggie, and how much he still misses her. Among the many women who hear Sam's story and fall in love with him solely because of it is Annie Reed, a Baltimore-based newspaper writer. Annie's infatuation with Sam's story and by association Sam himself is despite being already engaged. But Annie's relationship with her straight-laced fiancé Walter is unlike her dream love life in the movie An Affair to Remember (1957). She even writes to Sam proposing they meet atop the Empire State Building on ... Written by
Tom Hanks is his usual steady, likable self in "Sleepless in Seattle," a steady, likable movie that also benefits from one of Meg Ryan's more restrained (i.e. less obviously, annoyingly cute) performances.
It's their talent that helped me overlook some of the film's more noticeable flaws, particularly its treatment of the eventually-to-be-rejected Other Man and Other Woman. Both Hanks' and Ryan's "unsuitable" partners appear to be perfectly nice people, yet the movie casually dismisses them over one little flaw apiece--the woman laughs like a hyena and the man has terrible allergies. Both characters behave very well, considering the way they're treated by others. Hanks' girlfriend in particular desires a medal for putting up with his brat of a son, who is rude to her at every opportunity.
I also had difficulty warming to Hanks' son, although he is certainly preferable to the young girl who keeps expressing everything in initials.
On the bright side, there are many engaging supporting characters, including Rob Reiner as a fellow architect. Also of note are the rich homeowner, the dotty babysitter and Rosie O'Donnell as Ryan's editor and friend. Thankfully, few to none of their scenes involve the annoying children.
Many of the jokes are funny, the best coming when Hanks and a friend ridicule the weepy reaction of many women to "chick flicks" by sobbing as they recount the plot of "The Dirty Dozen."
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