Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

Do Over: EYG Sunday Morning Revisit Week 2

The second week of the Do Over is here and this week we are revisiting the 1993 Nora Ephron film starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, Sleepless in Seattle.

I remember watching this film for the first time on VHS and being truly bored by it. In fact, I remember being so bored that I fell asleep during part of the movie. Despite enjoying the work of Tom Hanks, I haven’t been interested in revisiting this.

However, with the Do Over series, I gave Sleepless in Seattle another chance and I found it to be much more enjoyable than the first time.

Recently widowed, Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) moved with his son Jonah (Ross Malinger) away from Chicago where everything reminded him of his lost wife to Seattle for a new start. Jonah was seeing that his father was not moving on and he called into a radio show designed to help people with their love lives.

Jonah is able to get Sam on the phone to talk to the “doctor” and his story went out across the nation. Annie (Meg Ryan), engaged to a man (Bill Pullman) who was steady and kind, but who was not magical, became obsessed with Sam and Jonah, finding the pull of the pair to be irresistible.

Using the romantic movie An Affair to Remember as its backbone, Sleepless in Seattle is a romantic comedy that looks at the fantasy/magical side of love, how some loves are destined to come about despite distance or implausibility.

There is certainly a ton of implausibility inside this script. Just the idea that Jonah could get himself to the top of the Empire State Building from Seattle alone is implausible enough. There is the apparently live broadcast of “Dr. Marsha Fieldstone” on Network America that went live across the whole nation instead of being taped and recorded earlier. Not to mention that Jonah set this whole thing up because he read Annie’s letter that talked about Brooks Robinson. Oh, and there has never been a man like Bill Pullman’s character in the history of the world.

Sure, there are plenty of moments that are just not realistic, but that works in this movie. The movie depends on the unlikely to pull the viewers into the magic. We know that Annie is not a creeper and that there is some unspeakable connection between the two of them and you root for them to overcome these unlikely odds to find a way together. And the ending scene on the top of the Empire State Building is both amazingly romantic and downright weird at the same time.

Sleepless in Seattle is considered one of the greatest rom-coms of all time by many and I have a much more appreciative opinion of the film than I did before. It helps that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan are exceptionally likeable actors and that Ross Malinger is as charming of a kid in the movies as you are going to find.

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