“It rains nine months a year in Seattle!” sighs Meg Ryan’s brother (David Hyde Pierce) in this Nora Ephron romcom, something TF can attest to after spending a very wet week there in March 2012.
When the sun is shining, though, it’s hard to imagine a prettier or more welcoming metropolis than the one that supplies the backdrop to this much-loved 1993 favourite.
Admittedly, we do get a pretty majestic view of it from the Lake Union houseboat recent widower Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) shares with his young son Jonah (Ross Malinger).
If the scenery alone isn’t enough of an inducement, though, Sleepless has a handy fallback: a charming, amusing and unabashedly heartfelt story about surviving bereavement, living through loss and finding love on the other side.
Hanks’ understated grief is sure to feel all the keener in the wake of Ephron’s sad passing in 2012.
Lest this be viewed as one long sob-fest, however, it’s only right to point out that the picture has plenty of laughs too, most of them emanating from Bill Pullman as the man to whom Baltimore Sun reporter Annie (Ryan) is foolishly betrothed.
It takes Sam’s moving confession to a late-night agony aunt to change the trajectory of both their lives, a recalibration explored with commendable restraint in a movie with the confidence to keep its audience waiting for the happy ending.
Meg and Tom, meanwhile, make a glorious on-screen couple – quite a feat given how little screen time (barely two minutes) they actually cohabit.
Only in the movies would two perfect people fall in love so perfectly. But then Sleepless is a movie in love with movies and everything they represent.
When Rita Wilson is moved to tears by her recollections of An Affair To Remember, she’s speaking for anyone who has ever had an emotional response to celluloid flickering through a projector. And when we say anyone, don’t we mean everyone?
Hanks and Ryan entrance in the Space Needle of chick flicks, a towering testament to its director’s wonderful way with words. Ephron might be gone, but she won’t be forgotten.