Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
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So begins a romantic odyssey that probably could only happen in the movies, but it makes no difference because in Ephron's capable hands, this story works, and it works beautifully. There's a line in the movie, in fact, that kind of sums it all up: Becky (played by Rosie O'Donnell) says something to the effect to Annie that, `You don't want love, you want `movie' love. And maybe that's why this movie is so endearing and enduring; it's about the kind of love you find in a perfect world, the kind of love everybody wants and needs (though few will admit it, even to themselves) but rarely finds, and Ephron knows exactly how to make it connect with her audience. It has to do with understanding basic human needs and knowing how to translate it all into a cinematic art form that will effectively reach those who see it. And Nora Ephron does it as well-- or possibly better-- than any director before or since, and as she proved later with `You've Got Mail,' this film was no fluke; she knows her stuff, and she knows how to deliver it. It's intentionally and shamelessly sentimental, but rather than maudlin, Ephron hits just the right emotional tone, and it's perfect, from the romance to the humor she injects at just the right moment to offset the drama, to the music-- using just the right song at just the right time-- that does so much to enhance the story.
Having a great cast, of course, certainly helped her in her endeavor, beginning with Tom Hanks who, with his portrayal of Sam, demonstrates once again what a consummate actor he is. Few actors can step into any given genre of film and create a character that is so complete and believable every time out the way Hanks can. Some of his characters may share some traits and have similarities, but he manages to make each one unique, which is quite a feat. When you can watch Hanks and forget that you're watching `Hanks,' you know he's accomplished something. As an actor he is remarkably giving, and so undaunted when it comes to using and exposing what he has inside. And his ability to circumvent any natural inhibitions makes him great at what he does, and it's what makes a character like Sam so memorable.
Meg Ryan, as well, is an accomplished actor who can play drama as well as comedy (check out her performance in `When A Man Loves A Woman'), but she really sparkles in romantic comedies like this one, and she is absolutely perfect for the role of Annie (just as she was for her role in `You've Got Mail'). She makes Annie a very real person, and through her we can empathize with Sam's situation, as she enables and allows the audience to experience what she is feeling right along with her. Ryan, through her character, makes that emotional involvement possible, and it's one of the strengths of the film. And like Hanks with Sam, Ryan makes Annie a character you're going to remember.
The exemplary supporting cast includes Bill Pullman (Walter), Rita Wilson (Suzy), Victor Gerber (Greg), Tom Riis Farrell (Rob), David Hyde Pierce (Dennis), Dana Ivey (Claire), Gaby Hoffman (Jessica) and Rob Reiner (Jay). Essentially a poignant and heart-felt treatise by Nora Ephron on life and love, `Sleepless In Seattle' is a film that offers a multitude of rewards if you are simply willing to reach out and open yourself up to it. All you have to do is let it in. Do it, and you'll be glad you did, guaranteed. It's the magic of the movies. I rate this one 10/10.
The plot is ridiculous but damned if it doesn't work! The film is chock full of sweet, romantic songs and images. It all leads up to an admittedly howler of an ending on top of the Empire State Building--it was so over the top that, while they were shooting it, director Nora Ephron was muttering under her breath "Can we get away with this?"! Well...they did! I've got to admit I actually was getting a little misty-eyed at that point. You really don't realize how silly the movie is while watching it. The actors and the sweet, romantic tone of the film really pull you in.
Hanks and Ryan were perfectly cast as the leads. They're both very good actors and excellent comedians. Unfortunately, this movie was such a huge hit that Ryan was type cast as a sweet, romantic woman. She's only now getting rid of that image. Pullman is bad in his role but it is NOT his fault. He doesn't have anything to work with--his character isn't even given a last name! He's just there as a plot contrivance. Rosie O'Donnell, however, provides excellent support as Ryans' boss. Also Rob Reiner, Rita Wilson (Hanks' real life wife) and Victor Garber shine in small roles. Also Malinger is very good as Hanks' son. The only thing that bothered me was the constant references to the old Hollywood weepie "An Affair to Remember". I HATE that film! If you hate romantic comedies avoid this at all costs. But if you're a romantic, like me, you'll love it! A definite 10!
Two great bits (among many):
An exchange between Hanks and a date on Hanks' son (who's being obnoxious): "He's only 8." "He's very good at it."
And a hysterical discussion between Hanks, Wilson and Garber about "Affair..." and "The Dirty Dozen"!
I mean don't get me wrong, I liked how the movie started, but Annie doesn't prove herself in any way. she has a fiancée that loves her and who has some unconvincing quirks that make him the one that must be dumped. i mean the guy does nothing wrong. Annie gets the idea that the guy isn't good for her indirectly from her mother... and what does she do ? She decides to break up and go meet a guy on a roof. and the fiancée accepts like a good little puppet, because if there were any heartbreak from his part, the movie would have went down the tube. the movie is hanging on only a thread of optimism.
Of course, us, the viewers know that Sam isn't a bad guy and that he deserves a decent relationship. Sam is sane, tries a normal way to see if he can have a relationship. I like him. But if you cut out all of his scenes Annie just seems kinda nuts. You can't see her relationship falling apart. She just falls for Sam. And that stupid movie every woman in the movie is crying about... so what ? Because somehow they finally met in a similar manner makes it lovely ? Not really, no.
A movie for romantics? Sure. Just to remember that your girlfriend who seems very much in love with you will dump your carefree, no complicated past, caring, compassionate self for a guy with emotional baggage, with a kid, who she only met. But he has a nicer name than you.
The acting didn't impress me. I actually had hopes for this movie. Shame. It gets a one because if it's a romantic movie it's crap.
The primary members of the support cast are also excellent (David Pierce, Annie's brother; Garber and Wilson as Sam's brother-in-law and sister; Reiner as his colleague/friend; young Gaby Hoffman; and Barbara Garrick as Sam's brief girlfriend).
The story, juxtaposed with the classic Grant/Kerr predecessor, could have provided an excessive gimmick, but here it worked well. And I was grateful for some things I didn't find in this flick. Although I watched the program like everyone else, I found Rob Reiner's character, acting and presence in "All in the Family" to be obnoxious and annoying, ALL THE TIME, and watched the program in spite of his presence. And I have found Rosie O'Donnell's presence to be the epitomé of ANNOYING in every respect, every time I've observed her, previously. But in this film, I enjoyed both of their performances completely. Children in movies can also be an irritating presence, but Malinger and Hoffman were delightful as son Jonah, and his little neighbor/friend. Barbara Garrick, with a supporting role here (as in "The Firm") is an appealing actress, for whom one would wish more prominent roles.
Tom Hanks is one of the foremost actors of our time, but even he can go a smidgen too far in a characterization (I thought he did so in both "Forrest Gump" and "Philadelphia"). But he certainly didn't here. Watch, enjoy, and feel good.
In Baltimore, Annie (Meg Ryan), a newspaper journalist, is engaged to Walter (Bill Pullman) and is looking forward to getting married. But when Annie's mother talks about the 'magic' that she instantly feels when Annie's father holds her hand, Annie cannot comprehend the meaning. One evening, Annie hears Johna on a national radio show, saying his dad is lonely and sad, still cannot forget his late wife and Johna thinks his dad needs a new wife to make him happy. Thousands of women across the country write to Sam, among them is Annie. Her letter in the rubbish bin is sent out by her good friend Becky (Rosie O'Donnell).
So Annie travels all the way to Seattle in hope to meet Sam, but it doesn't work out fine. However, when Johna reads the letter from Annie, he knows she's the right one and he replies on his father's behalf for meeting each other on the roof of the Empire State Building...
This is a refreshing, quite light-hearted story. It's slow but I'm sure many people would like it. It's funny that, when Sam first sees Annie, he somehow feels that he has met her before...rather funny, isn't it? Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan are great on the screen together and the flick is perfect for relaxing. With a delightful soundtrack.
It's because this movie is utterly unfair towards guys. There's two major reasons for this: firstly, Bill Pullman's character is inhuman. Secondly, if the genders of the two main characters were switched (i.e., if Meg Ryan played Tom Hanks' role and vice versa), Tom Hanks (the character played by Ryan) would be perceived as a total jerk. I can't really explain these two things without mentioning spoilers, so if you haven't seen the movie, you should probably skip the rest of this commentary.
As for Pullman's character: yes, if I had a fiancee in the same situation as Meg Ryan and she wanted to dump me for someone more suitable for her, I'd say "ok." But that's not to say I'd be extremely depressed and p***ed off at how much work I put into this relationship just to have "mr. perfect" walk by and lose everything. I would also be at least a little bit disappointed that my fiancee didn't care enough about my own feelings to stay with me. Pullman's character is expecting to have kids with this woman, and he seems perfectly fine--no, downright enthusiastic--with letting her go marry someone else. I don't know any guy who would be nearly as consenting about this whole thing as Pullman's character. Additionaly, this all seems to imply (for me at least) that a heterosexual relationship has nothing to do with the guy's happiness and everything to do with the girl's: that the man is the provider of services, and the woman is the customer who has every right to leave if she's dissatisfied.
How is this the case? Well, imagine switching the genders of the two main characters. Say it was Tom Hanks who was already with a woman he was going to marry, but decided to leave her (or ask her if he could leave her) when he heard this woman (Meg Ryan) on a radio talk show who sounded absolutely perfect for him. Wouldn't Hanks be perceived as a total jerk who dumped his fiancee for someone else? Wouldn't he be seen as an insensitive person who cared more about his own feelings and happiness than his fiancee's? In the actual movie, however, it's Meg Ryan who dumps her fiancee, and since she acts cute and innocent when she does it, she's not perceived as a jerk.
So, basically, that's my chief complaint about this film. Other than that, it's very funny, and I like the acting. Another thing I didn't like about it, though, is that it's the kind of movie where you're made to only care about the two main characters and nobody else.
But ultimately I think that my main complaint about this movie is really a complaint about American dating culture. It was really hard for me to figure out why I didn't like this movie, and I think that this movie really reveals how disadvantaged the stereotype of men is in dating culture. That's not to say that women aren't disadvantaged--the whole feminist movement is the embodiment of this fact--but all I'm trying to say is that men are also disadvantaged in different ways, and in my opinion dating culture needs to change for the equality of both sexes.