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For Romance Without Any Stress, "Sleepless in Seattle" Is the Cure
If you were celebrating Valentines Day with a candlelight dinner for two at home and settled in to watch a movie, "Sleepless in Seattle" would be a great choice because it provides a pleasant experience and is already becoming a romantic comedy classic.
Your parents or grandparents experienced a similar story line in the now classic "An Affair to Remember" that was released in 1957 and paired Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. Their characters fall in love and agree to meet in 6 months at the Empire State Building in New York.
Sleepless in Seattle, released 36 years later in 1993, pairs Tom Hanks as Sam Baldwin and Meg Ryan as Annie Reed. Sam is the recently-widowed father of 8-year-old Jonah Baldwin (Ross Malinger), who calls a nationally-broadcast radio talk show in an attempt to find his lonely father a partner.
A somewhat reluctant Sam talks to host Marcia Fieldstone and thousands of single women across America are suddenly drawn in to Sam's sense of love for his former wife, each wishing she could be as cherished as Sam's next special person. To wit:
Doctor Marcia Fieldstone: Tell me what was so special about your wife?
Sam Baldwin: Well, how long is your program? Well, it was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together . . .and I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home . . . only to no home I'd ever known . . .I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like . . . magic.
If that dialog does not melt every woman's heart she would need to go straight to "The Wizard of Oz" and receive a new transplant. Soon Sam is getting thousands of letters from wannabe partners, all of which are read by his son Jonah, who decides that "Annie" is the best choice.
Annie is engaged to marry Walter (Bill Pullman). Should she do so she would be making the first great mistake of her life. Walter is a decent enough chap, but Annie is missing any sparks in their relationship because Walter has the personality of an ashtray.
Annie goes to great lengths to meet Sam, flying from New York to Seattle only to discover Sam with another woman, whom she mistakes for a love interest. She never mails a letter she has written to Sam, but her friend does. In it she proposes to meet Sam on top of the Empire State Building.
Sam is not interested in going, but his son Jonah is, so, with the help of his new friend whose parents own a travel agency, he is able to book a flight to the Big Apple and ends up on the observation deck of the Empire State Building looking for Annie. Sam, in a panic, to find his son, follows him to New York. The rest you will have to see.
Hanks is very convincing as a forlorn widower and Ryan was at her peak of being cute and innocent. The chemistry between the two, who only share approximately 2 minutes of screen time together, is great.
The role of Annie was originally offered to Julia Roberts but she turned it town. Kim Basinger, who was also offered the part, turned it down because she thought the premise was ridiculous. Just recently in the news, a youngster in Jonah's peer group did exactly what Jonah did, managed to book flight on a major airline and fly undetected. Life is indeed stranger than fiction.
The screenplay for Sleepless in Seattle was written in part by Nora Ephron, who also wrote "When Harry Met Sally" (another great romantic comedy with Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal). Ephron directed the film.
Ephron, David S. Ward and Jeff Arch (who did write the story) were nominated for an Oscar for Best Screenplay, and the film received another nomination for Best Original Song ("A Wink and a Smile"). Sleepless in Seattle also got Golden Globe nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor (Tom Hanks) and Best Actress (Meg Ryan).
Sleepless in Seattle cost $21 million to film and grossed $227 million worldwide at the box office, adding another $65+ million in rentals.
Tom Hanks is the gold standard in acting. He has been nominated for 5 Best Actor Oscars (Big, Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan and Cast Away) and won twice for "Philadelphia" and "Forrest Gump". Hanks also has won 4 Best Actor Golden Globes for Big, Philadelphia, Forrest Gump and Cast Away.
His films have grossed more than $3.3 billion. He remains only 1 of 3 actors to have 7 consecutive $100 million domestic blockbusters; the other two are Tom Cruise and Will Smith.
Sleepless in Seattle is viewed by many guys as a "chick flick" but not by me. I consider it an outstanding relationship film with a great story line that proves to be a pleasant viewing experience every time I see it again. If a guy has ever been in love and felt the magic, he will appreciate this film a lot more.
Copyright © 2008 Ed Bagley
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