6.6/10
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54 user 8 critic

The Sleeping Dictionary (2003)

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A young Englishman is sent to Malaysian Borneo in the 1930s to stay with a tribe as UK's colonial representative. A local woman (J.Alba) helps him understand local tradition and language. He falls in love with her etc. despite the taboo.

Director:

Guy Jenkin

Writer:

Guy Jenkin
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4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jessica Alba ... Selima
Brenda Blethyn ... Aggie
Hugh Dancy ... John Truscott
Bob Hoskins ... Henry
Christopher Ling Lee Ian Christopher Ling Lee Ian ... Jasmine
Junix Inocian ... Famous
Michael Jessing Langgi Michael Jessing Langgi ... Melaka
Mano Maniam Mano Maniam ... Policeman
K.K. Moggie ... Tipong
Emily Mortimer ... Cecil
Cicilia Anak Richard Cicilia Anak Richard ... Jester Woman
Malcolm Rogers Malcolm Rogers ... Vicar
Eugene Salleh Eugene Salleh ... Belansai
Noah Taylor ... Neville
Kate Helen White Kate Helen White ... Mandar
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Storyline

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 rcs0411@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Learn to speak her language.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Fine Line Features Article

Country:

UK | USA | Germany

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 January 2003 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

Kärlekens lexikon See more »

Filming Locations:

Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Filmed and first preview screened in 2000, not released until 2003. See more »

Goofs

When Selima and Truscott are given the turquoise bracelets, she takes Truscott's off and wears it. In the next shot, she gives him hers but she's still holding his. See more »

Quotes

Selima: You won't come! They'll say you're an Englishman!
John Truscott: Then I'll tell them I'd rather have you than a country... or a language... or a history.
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Connections

Referenced in Be Kind Rewind (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Mango Tango
Written by Alex Heffes
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User Reviews

 
love-across-the-tracks, remixed......
21 January 2004 | by Jimmy_fingersSee all my reviews

Liked this film a lot. A rework of the classic Romeo and Juliet impossible-love scenario, it managed to stand out from the crowd, not least because of the impressive cinematography (helped in no small part by the wonderful locales and the beautiful tribes people (The Iban). While never being earth-shattering, for a film to watch with a loved one (without being too girly) this is hard to top IMO. It shows the moral struggle of a man who has to choose between 'duty' and love. The arrogance and conditioning of British colonialism is dealt with well, as we struggled to impose our European values and God on peoples in far flung corners, and indeed it shows the irony that we struggled to retain it ourselves as the beauty of the place and people intoxicated our men (a few cads apart)

Watch it with wifey/girlfriend/prospective mate


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