Monday, December 6, 2021

Sleepless in Seattle

Movie Name:
Sleepless in Seattle
Year of Release: 1993
Director: Nora Ephron
Starring: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Ross Malinger, Rita Wilson, Victor Garber, Bill Pullman, David Hyde Pierce, Rosie O'Donnell, Frances Conroy, Barbara Garrick, Gaby Hoffman, Carey Lowell, Dana Ivey, Rob Reiner
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Following her directorial debut with "This is My Life", writer/producer/director Nora Ephron, quickly returned to the big screen, with what turned out one of her most iconic and successful films, "Sleepless in Seattle". The narrative focuses on the character of Sam Baldwin, a respected architect whose wife passes away, leaving him to take care of his precocious and sweet son Jonah, who is 8. Wanting a change of scenery and life, Sam and Jonah relocate to Seattle. One evening Jonah calls a radio show, where a therapist is giving relationship advice, with the intent of helping his dad moving on with his life and finding someone else. The conversation turns out to be a lengthy confessional, and following that call, Sam suddenly sees himself swamped with letters from women from all over the country. Among them is Annie, a bride to be and a reporter in Baltimore, who also heard the show and was moved by what he said. She feels her relationship is missing something, and though initially reluctant, with the support of her friend Becky, she decides to discover more about Sam, eventually even flying to Seattle to meet him.
"Sleepless in Seattle" is a film that lives from the charisma of its actors, but also from a deeply felt nostalgia for a certain romanticism in cinema, one that goes back to the melodramas of the 1950s, such as "An Affair to Remember" from Leo McCarey, which the film refers quite a few times. Nora Ephron is quite successful at capturing relationships between all these characters, in a way that gives a sense of instant familiarity with what they're going through, even though for the most part, these characters motivations and plights, are all quite threadbare. Both Sam and Annie, are somewhat defined as these middle of the road, somewhat asexual characters, who while doing things that are borderline ethically suspicious, particularly Annie, still manage to sell it, mostly because they are doing it under the guise of a possible romantic attachment (there's quite possibly a much darker narrative of this feature waiting to be done), and because they're being portrayed by Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Even if the characters are indeed barely defined, the film has a flow and a momentum to it, largely due to its very talented cast, including the always reliable Tom Hanks, the luminous Meg Ryan, and the supporting cast which includes Victor Garber, Rob Reiner, Gabby Hoffman, David Hyde Pierce and Frances Conroy. The production team on the film is equally impressive, with a jazzy score from Marc Shaiman and a beautiful cinematography from Sven Nykvist. An entertaining film always worth revisiting.