6.2/10
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Sleeping with the Enemy (1991)

A young woman fakes her own death in an attempt to escape her nightmarish marriage, but discovers it is impossible to elude her controlling husband.

Director:

Joseph Ruben

Writers:

Nancy Price (novel), Ronald Bass (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
2,943 ( 1,488)

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2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Julia Roberts ... Laura Burney
Patrick Bergin ... Martin Burney
Kevin Anderson ... Ben Woodward
Elizabeth Lawrence Elizabeth Lawrence ... Chloe Williams
Kyle Secor ... Fleishman
Claudette Nevins ... Dr. Rissner
Tony Abatemarco ... Locke
Marita Geraghty ... Julie
Harley Venton Harley Venton ... Garber
Nancy Fish ... Woman on Bus
Sandi Shackelford Sandi Shackelford ... Edna
Bonnie Johnson ... Mrs. Nepper (as Bonnie Cook)
Graham Harrington Graham Harrington ... Minister
John Ward ... Theater Student (as John David Ward)
Sharon J. Robinson Sharon J. Robinson ... Sharon (the Nurse)
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Storyline

Laura and Martin have been married for four years. They seem to be the perfect, happiest and most successful couple. The reality of their house- hold, however, is very different. Martin is an abusive and brutally obsessed husband. Laura is living her life in constant fear and waits for a chance to escape. She finally stages her own death, and flees to a new town and new identity. But when Martin finds out that his wife is not dead he will stop at nothing to find and kill her. Written by Sami Al-Taher <staher2000@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She is a stranger in a small town. She changed her name. Her looks. Her life. All to escape the most dangerous man she's ever met. Her husband. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for wife abuse terror and a sex scene | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 February 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sleeping with the Enemy See more »

Filming Locations:

Abbeville, South Carolina, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$19,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,777,943, 10 February 1991, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$101,599,005

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$174,999,005
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Laura leaves Martin, she transitions almost every aspect of her life. She goes from a sleek, modern beach house to a rural villa-style house. Her long hair, which she had clearly kept at that length because Martin preferred it, is cut into a shorter, more bouncy shape. She goes from dressing for each part of the day to jeans and shirts. Her long, perfectly manicured nails are cut shorter and remain unpolished. She deliberately ruffles a part of each room so it's not perfect - her hand-towels, kitchen cupboards - and she gets a full-time job at a library, which Martin was against. And of course, Ben is so far removed from Martin as to be his polar opposite - in looks, personality, values and moral code. See more »

Goofs

When Martin is secretly following Laura and Ben through Claude Powell's Super Carnival he walks past the same spinning cone-shaped ride twice. This happens when Laura and Ben are on the ferris wheel. See more »

Quotes

Martin: You sneaked off inexplicably, need I remind you how I worried?
Laura: No. You reminded me enough the night I came back.
Martin: You're not suggesting I enjoyed that?
Laura: God, no. That would make you a monster.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the US theatrical release, the sex scene cuts out right after Martin and Laura return from the party and they kiss. In the uncut version, from when they kiss, Martin is seen pulling Laura up onto tables and against furniture as he has sex with her. This version was used for the worldwide Blu-ray release. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Being Human: I'm So Lonesome I Could Die (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

My Girl
Written by Smokey Robinson (as William Robinson) and Ronald White
Performed by The Temptations
Courtesy of Motown Record Company, L.P.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique will never sound the same again!.
4 March 2008 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Laura marries Martin Burney who appears to be the perfect man, he is handsome and successful, yet the dream of the perfect man becomes a nightmare as Martin is a control freak who abuses her both physically and mentally. Once she decides enough is enough she plots her escape by way of faking her own death by drowning, a new life beckons, but she will always be looking over her shoulder to see if Martin finds out the truth and tracks her down.

Thus the vehicle for Julia Roberts pans out as your just above average thriller. It has some decent moments that keep it from drifting into tedium, the set up perfectly portrays the double life that some people lead, on the social circuit it appears the couple are happy and at one with each other, yet behind their own walls there is violence and the crushing of the spirit. The final third of the film is also well worthy of the word thriller, for the tension is nigh on unbearable as we slowly come to the conclusion, whilst Julia Roberts as Laura does a very tidy job as this sort of modern day princess escaping the evil clutches of her keeper. Must mention the great use of Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, it's eerie and impacts hard for the scenes it is used for.

Patrick Bergin plays his role well enough, it's just that his villainy is never fully realised, we see enough to know that what he does is wrong, yet it feels a bit too polished. Whilst a sequence that sees Laura dress up as a man is clearly the low point of the film, it really does stretch the viewers patience, and sadly insults their respective intelligence. It's a mixed bag that isn't quite a waste of time, it just doesn't leave you with anything other than a feeling of being semi fulfilled, shame as it could have been brilliant with a bit more bravery and brains in the script, 6/10.


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