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

Jessica Alba had a body double for her sex scenes. 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

Henry: [Giving Selima to John] She will be living with you.
John Truscott: As what?
Henry: She performs wifely duties.
John Truscott: What like sewing?
Henry: [pause and snicker] She performs wifely duties in the bedroom.
Selima: I sleep with you.
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Connections

Referenced in Be Kind Rewind (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

East Of The Sun (West Of The Moon)
Written by Brooks Bowman
Performed by Mary Carewe
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User Reviews

 
Good for what's its worth
11 September 2007 | by BigpriscSee all my reviews

I just recently watched this movie on IFC. And was pleasantly surprise when i first started watching it. But as it progressed, it just boggles me at the execution of it.

Firstly, commendable performance from Jessica Alba. I am from Singapore, and the setting is close to my heart. For an American, she has definitely convinced me that she was local. Her accent is shaky, but then again, what's the right accent? But i think she played the role well. The other actors however, feels pretty flat. No ups no downs.

Secondly, for the genre and the setting, this movie can be so much more. The script is very flat, the highs are not high enough, and the lows are not gripping enough. I do not feel for the characters, and I do not care for what this young British is going through.

Thirdly, I couldn't tell that this takes place in the Malayan archipelago until I was told so in the movie. It just seems so contrive, for the lack of a better word. I should be angry, I should feel sad, I should feel that this is the most unfair world to live in. Yet... All i could see is, Jessica Alba doing a great job.

I wish someone would re-write this screenplay, and add to this story, take away the crap that is completely unnecessary and make this as magical as it potentially could be.


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