Title: Sleepless in Seattle
Director: Nora Ephron
Original Release: 1993
My Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
The story: widower Sam (Tom Hanks) has moved to Seattle to begin a new life with his son, Jonah. One evening, Jonah phones a radio call-in show expressing his concern for his sad and lonely father. Jonah convinces Sam to tell his story on air. Women across the country swoon including Annie (Meg Ryan), a newspaper reporter in Baltimore. Annie herself is engaged to Walter, a nice enough guy but their relationship lacks a certain magic. Annie writes a letter to Sam. Jonah reads it and conspires with his eight-year-old girlfriend Jessica to bring the cross-country pair together.
I myself hadn't watched the movie in probably 20 years. One theme I've frequently returned to in my movie posts is how our perceptions of films change at different stages in life. Some improve with age, others not so much. I've learned a lot about life and love since the last time I watched. The night Annie announces her engagement to the family, her mother Barbara tells the story of her first date with Annie's father: "At one point I looked down, at our hands, and I couldn't tell which fingers were mine and which were his. And I knew." It's the sort of story I would have thought was cute 20 years ago without truly understanding it. Now I know. I also have a stronger appreciation for the character of Walter (Bill Pullman). He could have been painted as a worthless jerk but he wasn't. He fell in love with the wrong woman and he bows out gracefully once he knows he's lost her.
I probably would have chosen a different favorite scene 20 years ago, too. Now, it is most certainly the conversation Sam has with two friends about the movies Affair to Remember and The Dirty Dozen. I laughed to the point of tears.
One of the movie's strongest selling points, especially in the long term, is its chart topping soundtrack featuring numerous old crooner classics like "As Time Goes By" and "Stardust." Interestingly, the initial score composer, John Barry, quit when given the list of 20 songs he had to include. Marc Shaiman picked up the reins and was ultimately nominated for a BAFTA for his efforts.
Trivia challenge again for April! Pick your own movie to share. Post three clues on Friday, April 1st. Post your reveal and review on Friday, April 8th. Meanwhile, please visit my friends today: