So I watched Sleepless in Seattle
I do find it rather disappointing when I watch a film that’s a ‘classic’ and it doesn’t quite resonate with me. I LOVE romcoms but I think this film is too much of a romcom even for me. Allow me to explain…
Okay, basic plot: Eighteen months after the death of his mother, Jonah (Ross Malinger) calls into a talk-radio therapy show describing how sad and lonely his father – Sam (Tom Hanks) – has been since his wife’s passing. Hundreds of women are touched by Sam’s story and attempt to reach out to him seeking to replace his lost wife. One of these women – Annie Reed (Meg Ryan) – is engaged to be married but finds herself having doubts about her prospective husband. Annie feels their relationship lacks ‘magic’ and somehow feels this ‘magic’ with Sam even though she has never seen or met him. Among the hundreds of letters that Sam receives with potential mates, Jonah picks Annie’s and now has the difficult task of convincing his father to fall in love and commit to a complete stranger.
I think all romcoms showcase a Utopian version of love and reality. People meet and have instant chemistry; they get married after days of knowing each other; they run towards each other in the rain and share magical kisses etc. Now while these romcoms are often far-fetched, they often have at least one foot in reality. My problem wiith Sleepless in Seattle was that it’s complete fantasy. The premise of the movie is that of two strangers who never meet, never speak, never form any sort of chemistry but somehow fall in love because of some magical connection. I understand that the purpose of romcoms is to provide this fantasized version of reality where anything is possible but I found it to be a bit too much and could never buy into, let alone connect with the story.
Now even though this film’s plot is ridiculous, its acting is delightful. I have to single out Ross Mainger who stars as Jonah – the eight year old boy trying to fix his father up. Child actors in the 80’s and 90’s could not be beat and Malinger typifies the heart and pre-pubescent charm that made them fan favourites. I think for all intents and purposes he is this film’s main character. He propels the story and there literally would be no film without his character’s actions. I also loved the chemistry he had with Tom Hanks. Hanks puts in an entertaining and genuine turn as widower Sam Baldwin and has an amazing father-son chemistry with Malinger. The two play off each other brilliantly.
Meg Ryan – who is the undisputed Queen of Romcoms – does her best to make a rather uninteresting character captivating. Her character – Annie – feels as one dimensional as a brick wall. She’s written as nothing more but a love sick damsel who requires nothing else in her life but to find this perfect stranger to save her from her rather dull engagement. I always enjoy watching Meg Ryan on screen but this character is incredibly vapid and so cliche that I’m surprised she wasn’t barefoot and pregnant throughout the entire movie.
Overall, Sleepless in Seattle is nothing more than average in my eyes. Its premise is just too ridiculous (for even a hopeless romantic like me) to buy into. Its plot also forces Hanks and Ryan to be apart for the majority of the film starving us of their electric chemistry. Young Ross Malinger was probably my favourite thing about this film and often its only saving grace. I think there are better romcoms out there and better ways to spend a night cuddling with the one you love. I’d give it a miss.