Sleepless in Seattle (1993) Dir. Nora Ephron – Ulster Hall 21st Feb
Who’s in it? Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan
What’s it about? Probably the archetypal rom-com, in which two relative strangers are brought together apparently by providence, with a little help from family and friends. In this particular version of events widower Sam (Hanks) is forced into a seemingly inevitable cosmic collision with Annie Reed (Ryan), when his son Jonah, still missing his mother, calls into a radio show saying that all he wants for Christmas is a new wife for his dad and new mother for himself – naturally provoking an outpouring of estrogen fuelled marriage proposals from women all over the country. Hearing little Jonah’s impassioned plea while driving to Washington Annie decides, obviously, that she and Sam are meant to be together, despite the fact she’s already in love and engaged to someone else, and that she is yet to meet her soul mate. Ephron, Hanks and Ryan would collaborate again under similar narrative circumstances in 1998’s You’ve Got Mail. Sleepless in Seattle is undoubtedly mushy and sentimental but remains the quintessential chick flick, in the good sense.
Memorable Moments? In on scene David Hyde Pierce, channelling his role as fussy psychiatrist Niles from Frasier, tells Annie, “Annie, when you’re attracted to someone, it just means that your subconscious is attracted to their subconscious. Subconsciously.”
Look who’s talking: ‘Not one of the cleverer rom-coms of this ilk… but sweet and touching nevertheless and Tom Hanks is always watchable.’ – Empire
Like that? Try this: You’ve Got Mail (1998) reunited Hanks, Ryan and director Ephron for a similarly pitched rom-com in which the pair fall in love online, apparently anonymously, when in fact they already know and detest each other.
Trivia Pursuit: The role of Annie was originally offered to Julia Roberts, Michelle Pfeifer, Kim Basinger, Jennifer Jason Lee and Jodie Foster, who all turned it down.