Movie of the Week: Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

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Nora Ephron directs Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan and Bill Pullman in this romantic comedy about a journalist who falls for a widower after hearing him talk on the radio from the other side of America. 

An unashamedly perfect romance, maybe not as zingy as When Harry Met Sally… but still with plenty of quotable exchanges among the intentionally thick and effective schmaltz. This is all fantasy, about falling in love rather than being in a relationship. And how ‘magical’ that feels. As we take in various picture perfect holidays and various touched up iconic landmarks, Ephron basically walk us on a grand tour of warm feelings. Why do I rate this quite so highly? It is endlessly rewatchable, feeling both old fashioned and smart, sincere yet knowing throughout. Hanks is the lynchpin. This was the period where he moved from likeable comedy star to Oscar winning global favourite. It is his most overlooked performance, rivalling Captain Phillips as his best. He sells the loving father struggling to come to terms with the loss of his wife subtly but convincingly. I noticed on this viewing how dark his house is during the first two acts. It is lit like a horror movie set. We, the viewer, are in his depression. But as he moves on, things literally lighten up. The success of the movie is not that he lets his grief define him or Ryan’s Annie (perfect in a stalkery kinda way) settles, but that they both reach a point where they take a risk again. That’s what falling in love is, putting yourself out there and vulnerable and hoping the other person takes your hand. Watch it with An Affair to Remember and melt into its ample charms.

10

 

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