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
Reviews
4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jessica Alba said that she disliked this film and her performance in it. 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

John Truscott: [after a bad day] Sorry about this afternoon. I should've stopped her sooner. Selima... you had other lovers before me, didn't you? Did you and they have what we have?
Selima: Yes. They were men like you.
John Truscott: [He is a little surprised] I thought we had something special.
Selima: No. We fuck. That's all.
[She gets up and walks out of the room, and he goes after her]
John Truscott: Wait! You're angry. You're not telling the truth.
Selima: I'm angry! That's why I'm telling the truth! Half my blood is English. That is more that your king and ...
[...]
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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

 
a beautiful film
30 July 2006 | by sioned-4See all my reviews

This was an excellent film and brought back a lot of memories of my time with the Iban people in Sarawak. The costumes, the people, the scenery...these would all be worth watching the movie even without a good plot. There are some priceless moments in it including a conversation with the cook about drunkenness and wages and the relationship between the young Englishman and the Iban people he is supposed to be governing. The Iban have a well developed sense of humor. Overall the plot is enjoyable. I'm not a fan of romances, but this was well done and gave a unique glimpse into a people who are still very much the same to this day (minus the actual head hunting).

If you have ever dreamed of an adventure in Borneo, watch this first...it will convince you of the beauty and the need to go.


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