While You Were Sleeping
Release year: 1995
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Screenwriter: Daniel G. Sullivan, Fredric Lebow
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman, Peter Gallagher, Peter Boyle, Jack Warden, Glynis Johns, Micole Mercurio, Jason Bernard
Ratings: 1 Golden Globe nomination: Best Actress Comedy/Musical (Sandra Bullock).
Hopeless romantic Lucy (Bullock) lives a lonely life working as a Chicago Transit Authority token collector dreaming about the dashing Peter (Gallagher) who passes her booth every day. One day he falls on the track during an attack and Lucy saves him. A misunderstanding by a nurse at the hospital leads to Peter’s family thinking she is his fiancée and lured by having family around her she can’t get herself to correct them. But then Peter’s brother Jack (Pullman) comes home.
While You Were Sleeping is a rom-com made from a familiar formular and as predictable as they come, but when it is made with suck skills and has so charming performances from its cast, you really don’t mind. Bullock (Gravity, 2013) was one of the leading ladies of rom-com in the 1990’s and here she delivers one of her finest rom-com performances, making Lucy warm and real and someone to instantly fall for. She manages to make you feel sorry for the character without ever pitying her and her Golden Globe nomination for the part was well-deserved. Opposite her Pullman (Lake Placid, 1999) is down-to-earth and kind and the two share great chemistry. But a big part of the movie’s charm is the delightful family Lucy suddenly finds herself in the center of. With the father played by Boyle (Young Frankenstein, 1974), the mother by Mercurio (Flashdance, 1983) and the eccentric grandmother with heart problems played by Johns (Mary Poppins, 1964) you know you are in for a treat but on top of that you get the great Warden (All the President’s Men, 1976) as the old family friend and Bernard (WarGames, 1983) as Lucy’s boss. In other words, While You Were Sleeping is a smorgasbord of delight and warm and fuzzy storytelling and whenever you feel sad on a rainy day, this may well be just what the doctor ordered. Just turn it on and feel yourself cheered up by goofy neighbours with an unhealthy interest in lady shoes, misunderstandings, golf stories and rocking chairs. Simply one of the best rom-coms of the 1990s!
The word “fiancée” has three acceptable pronunciations in English according to Webster, with the stress on the first, second, or final syllable. In the initial hospital room scene where the Callaghans discover Peter in a coma and meet Lucy, all three pronunciations of the word are given, and in consecutive order as far as the syllables. Nurse: “She’s his FIancée!” Midge: “His fiANcée”? Doctor (a few lines later, to intern): “She’s the fianCEE, you idiot!”
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Picture copyrights: Buena Vista