TriStar Pictures | Release Date: June 25, 1993
7.1
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Generally favorable reviews based on 54 Ratings
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Mixed:
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Negative:
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8
MovieLonely94Nov 6, 2010
touching and lovely movie

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7
SpangleJan 3, 2017
A funny and cheesy piece of entertainment, Sleepless in Seattle is a timeless romance starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Though the duo rarely share the screen, the moments they do and the moments they do not are filled with the air of being ofA funny and cheesy piece of entertainment, Sleepless in Seattle is a timeless romance starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Though the duo rarely share the screen, the moments they do and the moments they do not are filled with the air of being of a classic Hollywood romance. With two well matched leads and the film fully aware of its status as being a far-fetched Hollywood romantic film, Sleepless in Seattle is an irresistibly adorable film that is always entertaining. Striking a balance between grieving, romance, and comedy, it is clear that this film is by a woman, Nora Ephron. With the romance being found in the words, not in the looks, the film is a romantically written depiction of the true meaning of love.

In my review of Carol, I discussed the power of a look. In that film, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara share a look that makes it feel as though time has stopped. The look in their eyes make it appear that all of their questions have been answered. Sleepless in Seattle contains a look of the same quality. With just fleeting moments of Sam (Tom Hanks) and Annie (Meg Ryan) sharing the screen, Ephron casts aside words. Instead, the power of love is found in a look and a touch. From there, magic happens and the romance in the film is cemented as being nothing less than magical.

However, equally important are the words. Hearing Sam, grieving from the loss of his wife, on a radio show, Annie is moved to tears by his words about his wife. Ephron's writing captures what women want: a man who loves them. Sam loved his wife and was not ashamed to admit it or tell the whole world about that love. Simple statements such as asking how long he had to explain what he loved most leave Annie and women across the country in a sea of tears. While the film can be a bit sexist as it shows women as being emotional wrecks and men as emotionally distant, it works because these moments are so exquisitely written from a romance standpoint. Ephron does not hide that she is trying to emulate classic 1940s/1950s romance films such as those with Cary Grant with repeated references to An Affair to Remember. Instead, she fully embraces the cheesiness and over-the-top romantic nature of those films. With audacious romantic set pieces such as the Empire State Building, absurd coincidences, and repeated references to fate, Sleepless in Seattle is cheesy as all hell. Fortunately, cheese is often delicious and this film certainly fits that bill with a gooey center that leaves you feeling happy. The dialogue in the film emphasizes that cheese with the characters merely dropping words that women would kill to hear from, apparently, any man.

The film's comedy is great, especially the running gag regarding An Affair to Remember. However, as always, Hanks is an able comic with great delivery of his various comedic lines. Ryan receives less comedic lines, but when given the chance, she nails the line. Yet, the biggest fault of the film is its treatment of Walter (Bill Pullman). Though romantic and funny, Walter is cast aside because he commits the cardinal sin of men: being boring. He is boring. He is allergic to everything, sure, but he is also boring. He is safe and hardly exciting. He may love Annie and be engaged to her, but she quickly loses interest purely through hearing Sam. There is no magic between her and Walter. However, the film seems to go out of its way to make you see how boring Walter is, even by picking on his name and serious nature. By the end, when Annie dumps him, he is so boring he just lets her go. He understands and allows her to leave. Walter may be a good guy who does not want to restrict her, even if he loves her, but man is he boring. By the end of the film, Sleepless in Seattle seems to want you to understand that Annie is not a bad person for emotionally cheating on Walter, but we know the truth. Your partner being boring is not an excuse to cheat on them, even if you did not do anything sexually to cheat on them. Just be upfront from the beginning and do not lead them on. The funny part is she was fine with Walter until she sensed a better option being available. Here, the film really struggles and fails to justify putting its leads together.

Fortunately, Sleepless in Seattle is a funny, romantic, and subtle piece of 1990s rom-com entertainment. With two well matched leads, the film is a vintage Hollywood romance film, even if it lacks scenes between the lovers and a great kiss finale. Through the lack of these, the film feels oddly authentic, even if its plot is absurd. Yet, Sleepless in Seattle is able to find realism by capturing the look, feel, and sound of true love from the very beginning of the film.
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7
JawsLaxerDramaJan 3, 2013
Besides being a romantic movie, it's actually quite good. The only problem was the pacing, as sometimes it was a little dull but it always picked up. It's not meant to have any suspence, violence, explosions or anything else, but it is one ofBesides being a romantic movie, it's actually quite good. The only problem was the pacing, as sometimes it was a little dull but it always picked up. It's not meant to have any suspence, violence, explosions or anything else, but it is one of the movies you're like 'Well, okay, not bad."
Tom Hanks is great as always. Diagnosis: See it with your boyfriend/girlfriend. Pros: Wonderful acting. Cons: Can be a bit too slow.
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7
Tomle1202Nov 30, 2016
Sleepless in Seattle has its problems, no doubt, but underneath them is a funny and lovable movie that shines with excellent performance from the main cast.
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7
FilmClubMar 27, 2016
In fact, Ephron and fellow writers Jeff Arch and David S. Ward have conspired to make “Sleepless in Seattle” as purposefully schmaltzy as one can imagine, in a manner that’s almost cynical — as if audiences can’t be trusted to buy into aIn fact, Ephron and fellow writers Jeff Arch and David S. Ward have conspired to make “Sleepless in Seattle” as purposefully schmaltzy as one can imagine, in a manner that’s almost cynical — as if audiences can’t be trusted to buy into a good, old-fashioned romance without trappings like skies replete with shooting stars.

That said, there’s inherent appeal in the set-up, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan fare considerably better than their last pairing (for the record, the sputtering “Joe Versus the Volcano”), and young Ross Malinger is one of the most appealing and real moppets since Justin Henry — whom he resembles — in “Kramer vs. Kramer.” The biggest problem may be the leisurely pace Ephron pursues in getting to an outcome that’s such a foregone conclusion.

Sam (Hanks) is still grieving over the death of his wife (Carey Lowell, seen in flashback) when his son phones a late night radio call-in show saying he thinks the solution is for dad to remarry. Sam reluctantly gets on the line and ends up spilling his guts, showing such sensitivity that thousands of women write in offering to cure his sorrowful insomnia.

Among those listening is Annie (Ryan), a just-engaged newspaper reporter whose husband-to-be Walter (Bill Pullman) is sensible but not very exciting. She finds herself increasingly obsessed with “Sleepless in Seattle,” Sam’s on-air designation, fearing that she may be settling for “OK” on the romance scale instead of actually finding “magic.”

The movie pursues a parallel structure, with Sam’s friends and son Jonah (Malinger) pushing him toward opening up while Annie voices her own doubts only to her co-worker Becky (Rosie O’Donnell) and creating a strain on her relationship with her fiance.

There are some extremely amusing explorations of dating mores, plus more somber moments — providing Hanks an opportunity to strut his dramatic stuff — delving into Sam’s almost tangible grief.

Yet for all the enjoyable flourishes, and there are many, Ephron keeps pausing to remind us, through various contrivances, that this is a movie, making it hard for anyone to really get lost in the story. And since the big question isn’t “if,” but “when” and “how,” the film loses considerable momentum about two-thirds through before rallying for a heart-tugging finale.

More than anything else, “Sleepless” may be a boon to 20th Century Fox, spurring rentals of “An Affair to Remember,” which is used not only as a key plot device but as a running gag throughout — demonstrating a movie whose squishy romantic elements appeal to women more than men.

In fact, it’s precisely that emphasis here that may prevent “Sleepless” from being quite the sleeper it could have been.

Hanks certainly figures to increase his stock as a well-rounded actor and not just a comic, while Ryan essentially plays the same character as “Sally,” with pleasing if predictable results.

Other supporting roles are generally strong, though Pullman is a bit less annoying than he should have been to prevent audiences from feeling undue sympathy toward his character near the finish.

On the tech side, Sven Nykvist’s camerawork does the romance justice, while Marc Shaiman’s music and the carefully chosen song score evoke their share of laughs but at times prove overbearing.

Tuned-in viewers may also feel the editing by virtue of the truncated appearances by some supporting players, though it’s also clear “Sleepless” is as long as it needed to be.
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