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John Truscott goes to Borneo to work with the Iban. He reports to Henry Bullard, who gives him a "sleeping dictionary"--one of the locals who teaches him the local language and culture. And who he gives John is Selima. And while teaching him, John finds himself attracted to her. And we says it's not allowed, both the locals and Bullard forbid him to be in a relationship with Selima. But he defies them which has dire consequences. Written by
I just saw a terrible film called The Sleeping Dictionary. One reviewer on Four Word Film Review (www.fwfr.com) got it right right when he wrote, "From A to Zzzzzzzzz." The story is about an English colonialist jerk that comes to Malaysia to "civilize the savages" so to speak and ends up falling in love with his sleeping dictionary. A sleeping dictionary is a native Malaysian prostitute fluent in English that services Englishmen colonialists and teaches them her native language in return for ... well the movie never really makes that clear, but I can only assume he gives her money or something. Needless to say, the movie focuses a lot more on the "sleeping" part than on the "dictionary" part of the job description. Things get complicated for our young hero when the forbidden love affair gets compounded by her culture, his soap opera domestic situation, and his own boundless stupidity in every major decision he makes throughout the film.
So yes, the movie has some major flaws, but on the other hand, it delivered exactly the two things I rented it for in the first place: a beautifully photographed exotic location, and an even more beautifully photographed and exotic woman that plays the sleeping dictionary, Jessica Alba. My friend told me that this crappy movie was her at her most beautiful and damn was he right. She's not a great actress, and doesn't quite pass for Malaysian, and its pretty obvious that they use a body double for the nudity, but who cares? Jessica Alba has that rare face and figure that's more than just sexy, but also beautiful in the way that a Vivaldi violin concerto or a Rembrandt painting is.
(P.S. Sorry to all you feminists out there who discourage objectifying women, the "male gaze," etc. etc., but I hope you can understand that I mean no disrespect.)
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