Sleepwalk With Me (2012)

DailyView: Day 142, Movie 217

We go back to the independent movie scene with a film from 2012 called Sleepwalk With Me. It was based on Mike Birbiglia’s one man, off-Broadway show and his first book, Sleepwalk With Me & Other Painfully True Stories.

Mike Birbiglia wrote, directed and starred in the film version, bringing the basic true story to life of a comedian in a long term relationship with his girlfriend Abby (Lauren Ambrose), but knowing deep down that he was nowhere close to being ready for marriage. The anxiety of the situations with Abby as well as his struggling career as a stand up comedian, brought forth a sleep disorder that lead to him sleepwalking during dreams.

Narrated by Birbiglia as well, the story proceeds nicely as Matt (Mike Birbiglia) begins to spend more time on the road as his act slowly becomes better… by his talking about his relationship.

This is a funny film, but it is also very poignant. We take a journey through the mind of a stand up comedian whose relationship was not going to succeed. We could see that this pairing was doomed, but Matt and Abby had blinders on. Neither felt happy in their lives, but they were unable to admit it.

The seriousness of the sleep disorder, REM behavior disorder (RBD), shines through the comedy as Matt places himself in even more potentially dangerous situations because of his dreams. RBD is a “sleep disorder in which people act out their dreams. It involves abnormal behavior during the sleep phase with rapid eye movement (REM) sleep” (Wikipedia).

Matt is totally awkward and uncertain about himself and that plays even more into the character.

The film also featured Carol Kane as Linda, Matt’s mother and James Rebhorn as Frank, Matt’s father. The credibility of these two top notch actors brought a gravitas to the film, and they were both extremely funny as well.

This was a solid independent film that I had not heard about before I started looking into films under 90 minutes. These are the kind of films that fall by the wayside in many circumstances and that is too bad.

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