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Sam Baldwin is a widower still grieving for his wife,
Who moves out to Seattle to revitalize his life,
But Jonah, his young son, decides he needs help even so,
And late on Christmas Eve, he tries a widespread call-in show.
The conversation labels Sam as “Sleepless in Seattle,”
Who interests women everywhere, who write with pointless prattle.
One woman, though, in Baltimore, named Annie pines away,
Although she does have Walter, her allergic fiancé.
Her fear of being left alone is only matched, it seems,
By all her movie-molded, chance-for-true-love kind of dreams,
And Jonah tells his dad that he wants Annie for a mother
When he receives a letter that surpasses any other.
Since Annie is intrigued by Sam, she flies to take a peek
At them out in Seattle, and she feels like such a sneak.
Just like a certain chick flick, Jonah ventures to arrange
A Valentine’s Day meeting in New York, to force a change.
He flies there, seeking Annie, and Sam follows, panicking,
While Annie breaks with Walter for a love that fate may bring.
Atop a famous building, Sam and Annie chance to meet,
And Jonah is content that now his family is complete.

Sleepless in Seattle is more proof that Nora Ephron put rom coms on a whole new level (before Matthew McConaughey got ahold of the genre). Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan are the perfect pair, as someone must have thought after viewing Joe vs. the Volcano, and, though they spend most of Sleepless apart, they’re clearly M.F.E.O. (made for each other).

The actual plot is not particularly eventful, but the characters and dialogue effortlessly hold the viewer’s attention. Ephron excelled most at devising realistic, often funny conversations that could easily have been drawn from real life, private exchanges between girlfriends and guy friends and spouses. Yet no one verbalizes that dialogue as memorably as Hanks and Ryan. The screenplay might just say “Annie sings ‘Sleigh Ride’ while driving,” and we get Ryan’s amusing chorus of “Horses, horses, horses, horses.” Plus, while the film could have characterized him as a jerk, it makes Bill Pullman likable enough as Walter to not cause viewers to wonder what Annie sees in him; he’s one of those awkward but all-around nice guys that just doesn’t happen to be her one.

While Sleepless in Seattle could be considered a “chick movie,” as Hanks calls An Affair to Remember, it’s self-aware enough to still be entertaining for guys too, at least in my case, such as the scene in which Suzy gushes about that Cary Grant tearjerker, with Hanks and Victor Garber exchanging “puh-leaze” glances. Hanks’s dramatic remembrance of his deceased wife and his manly repartee mostly balances out Ryan’s feminine chats.

All the relationships feel entirely real, from Sam’s imperfect fathering of Jonah to Annie’s volatile discussions with her friend Becky (played by Rosie O’Donnell). Sleepless in Seattle is unabashedly romantic and presents one of film’s most hopeful propositions of true love. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan forever!

Best line: (Sam, as he is reentering dating) “What is ‘tiramisu’?”
(his friend Jay) “You’ll find out.”
(Sam) “Well, what is it?”
(Jay) “You’ll see!”
(Sam) “Some woman is gonna want me to do it to her, and I’m not gonna know what it is!”


Artistry: 8
Characters/Actors: 10
Entertainment: 9
Visual Effects: 5
Originality: 8
Watchability: 10
Other (language): -1
TOTAL: 49 out of 60

Next: #132 – The Polar Express (another Tom Hanks movie)

© 2014 S. G. Liput

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