Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Ross Malinger, Rita Wilson,
A recently widowed man's son calls a radio talk-show in an attempt to find his father a partner.
  • 6.8 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Jeff Arch, David S. Ward, Writer:
  • Nora Ephron, Director:
  • Gary Foster, Producer:


10/10 / 10

Regardless of how cyberspace has seemingly diminished it's size, the worldis still an awfully big place, and it's impossible for any one person tooccupy more than a minuscule portion of it at any given time. So it'simperative that individuals find that special niche for themselves, thatlittle piece of the world that becomes their own, where they can live andlove and engage in the pursuit of happiness. And once that `perfect' worldis created, it's devastating when something upsets the balance, as in thecase of this film, the death of a spouse. When the love of a lifetime isabruptly taken away, how does one recover? Can one recover? How do you goon when your heart has been removed? All valid questions that are exploredand addressed in Nora Ephron's touching and romantic `Sleepless In Seattle,'starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. The film begins on a somber note, with thefuneral of Maggie Baldwin (Carey Lowell), respectively the wife and motherof Sam Baldwin (Hanks) and his son, Jonah (Ross Malinger). Maggie was thelove of Sam's life, and inconsolable after her passing, he decides the bestthing for himself and his son is to move to another city and try for a freshstart. So they head west as far as possible, to Seattle, where Sam remainsunable to emerge from the funk of his loss. Christmas and New Year's is especially tough on Sam and Jonah, and aroundthis time Jonah happens to tune into a late night talk show featuring Dr.Marcia Fieldstone (Caroline Aaron), whose job is to help her listeners withtheir problems. Jonah calls her and tells their story, then takes the phoneto his dad in the next room, and in deference to his son, Sam consents totalk about his situation on National radio. In the Baltimore area, writerAnnie Reed (Ryan) is listening, and touched by the sincerity in Sam's voice,she cajoles an assignment that subsequently takes her to Seattle, where sheattempts to hook up with Sam, a man she knows only as a needful, disembodiedvoice from the radio.

So begins a romantic odyssey that probably could only happen in the movies,but it makes no difference because in Ephron's capable hands, this storyworks, and it works beautifully. There's a line in the movie, in fact, thatkind of sums it all up: Becky (played by Rosie O'Donnell) says something tothe effect to Annie that, `You don't want love, you want `movie' love. Andmaybe that's why this movie is so endearing and enduring; it's about thekind of love you find in a perfect world, the kind of love everybody wantsand needs (though few will admit it, even to themselves) but rarely finds,and Ephron knows exactly how to make it connect with her audience. It hasto do with understanding basic human needs and knowing how to translate itall into a cinematic art form that will effectively reach those who see it. And Nora Ephron does it as well-- or possibly better-- than any directorbefore or since, and as she proved later with `You've Got Mail,' this filmwas no fluke; she knows her stuff, and she knows how to deliver it. It'sintentionally and shamelessly sentimental, but rather than maudlin, Ephronhits just the right emotional tone, and it's perfect, from the romance tothe humor she injects at just the right moment to offset the drama, to themusic-- using just the right song at just the right time-- that does so muchto enhance the story.

Having a great cast, of course, certainly helped her in her endeavor,beginning with Tom Hanks who, with his portrayal of Sam, demonstrates onceagain what a consummate actor he is. Few actors can step into any givengenre of film and create a character that is so complete and believableevery time out the way Hanks can. Some of his characters may share sometraits and have similarities, but he manages to make each one unique, whichis quite a feat. When you can watch Hanks and forget that you're watching`Hanks,' you know he's accomplished something. As an actor he is remarkablygiving, and so undaunted when it comes to using and exposing what he hasinside. And his ability to circumvent any natural inhibitions makes himgreat at what he does, and it's what makes a character like Sam somemorable.

Meg Ryan, as well, is an accomplished actor who can play drama as well ascomedy (check out her performance in `When A Man Loves A Woman'), but shereally sparkles in romantic comedies like this one, and she is absolutelyperfect for the role of Annie (just as she was for her role in `You've GotMail'). She makes Annie a very real person, and through her we canempathize with Sam's situation, as she enables and allows the audience toexperience what she is feeling right along with her. Ryan, through hercharacter, makes that emotional involvement possible, and it's one of thestrengths of the film. And like Hanks with Sam, Ryan makes Annie acharacter you're going to remember.

The exemplary supporting cast includes Bill Pullman (Walter), Rita Wilson(Suzy), Victor Gerber (Greg), Tom Riis Farrell (Rob), David Hyde Pierce(Dennis), Dana Ivey (Claire), Gaby Hoffman (Jessica) and Rob Reiner (Jay). Essentially a poignant and heart-felt treatise by Nora Ephron on life andlove, `Sleepless In Seattle' is a film that offers a multitude of rewards ifyou are simply willing to reach out and open yourself up to it. All youhave to do is let it in. Do it, and you'll be glad you did, guaranteed. It's the magic of the movies. I rate this one 10/10.

10/10 / 10

Annie Reed (Meg Ryan) hears, on a late night talk show, about a youngboy Jonah Baldwin (Ross Malinger) and his dad Sam (Tom Hanks) missingtheir dead mother/spouse. Immediately Annie feels a connection with Samthinking he might be her soul mate. Problem is she's engaged to Walter(Bill Pullman). Should she track down Sam and see...or stay with sweet,dependable, dull, safe Walter? What do you think?

The plot is ridiculous but damned if it doesn't work! The film is chockfull of sweet, romantic songs and images. It all leads up to anadmittedly howler of an ending on top of the Empire State Building--itwas so over the top that, while they were shooting it, director NoraEphron was muttering under her breath "Can we get away with this?"!Well...they did! I've got to admit I actually was getting a littlemisty-eyed at that point. You really don't realize how silly the movieis while watching it. The actors and the sweet, romantic tone of thefilm really pull you in.

Hanks and Ryan were perfectly cast as the leads. They're both very goodactors and excellent comedians. Unfortunately, this movie was such ahuge hit that Ryan was type cast as a sweet, romantic woman. She's onlynow getting rid of that image. Pullman is bad in his role but it is NOThis fault. He doesn't have anything to work with--his character isn'teven given a last name! He's just there as a plot contrivance. RosieO'Donnell, however, provides excellent support as Ryans' boss. Also RobReiner, Rita Wilson (Hanks' real life wife) and Victor Garber shine insmall roles. Also Malinger is very good as Hanks' son. The only thingthat bothered me was the constant references to the old Hollywoodweepie "An Affair to Remember". I HATE that film! If you hate romanticcomedies avoid this at all costs. But if you're a romantic, like me,you'll love it! A definite 10!

Two great bits (among many):

An exchange between Hanks and a date on Hanks' son (who's beingobnoxious): "He's only 8." "He's very good at it."

And a hysterical discussion between Hanks, Wilson and Garber about"Affair..." and "The Dirty Dozen"!

9/10 / 10

The movies are full of alternate universes and maybes that make them agreatescape. Sleepless In Seattle is a great romantic comedy. Tom Hanks and MegRyan star in a movie where they are hardly onscreen together and yet wefeelboth of their characters infatuation. It's an amazing job that directorNoraEphron does in making us care about the relationship between these twocharacters when their not hardly together onscreen. The movie also hasgreatperformances, from the leads and from supporting players Rosie O'DonnellandRob Reiner, as well as a very goofy but sweet turn from Bill Pullman. Thismovie will make you feel good.

10/10 / 10

This is a movie with characters and performances which are appealing,and it is an old-fashioned, feel-good love story. The film also has abit of sadness in its early part, thankfully not overdone. The fivelead characters and the performances by their actors (Hanks, Ryan,Malinger, Pullman and O'Donnell) are all engaging.

The primary members of the support cast are also excellent (DavidPierce, Annie's brother; Garber and Wilson as Sam's brother-in-law andsister; Reiner as his colleague/friend; young Gaby Hoffman; and BarbaraGarrick as Sam's brief girlfriend).

The story, juxtaposed with the classic Grant/Kerr predecessor, couldhave provided an excessive gimmick, but here it worked well. And I wasgrateful for some things I didn't find in this flick. Although Iwatched the program like everyone else, I found Rob Reiner's character,acting and presence in "All in the Family" to be obnoxious andannoying, ALL THE TIME, and watched the program in spite of hispresence. And I have found Rosie O'Donnell's presence to be the epitoméof ANNOYING in every respect, every time I've observed her, previously.But in this film, I enjoyed both of their performances completely.Children in movies can also be an irritating presence, but Malinger andHoffman were delightful as son Jonah, and his little neighbor/friend.Barbara Garrick, with a supporting role here (as in "The Firm") is anappealing actress, for whom one would wish more prominent roles.

Tom Hanks is one of the foremost actors of our time, but even he can goa smidgen too far in a characterization (I thought he did so in both"Forrest Gump" and "Philadelphia"). But he certainly didn't here.Watch, enjoy, and feel good.

10/10 / 10

like this one, a 10 is all you can do. Tom is great, Meg the womanplays the woman's role like nobody else could have.....If I get tearsin a movie, the movie is a m o v i e ........touching. Thank you folkswho did it, the folks who wrote this wonderful story. Am I sentimental?Yess. And it feels good. Each turn of the story makes you wish, hope,and finally no violence in a movie. What a relief. If you watch thismovie around x-mas, you probable get more sentimental than in a hotsummer night, I don't no. It took me 12 years to get to see this movie.Heard so much and everything I heard was an understatement. Thank youTom and Meg and specially Ross, love you.