Thursday, December 29, 2011

While You Were Sleeping (1995)

Seen: On dvd on my parents' widescreen tv, from my mom's collection.

I tore through several Christmas movies while I was visiting my parents this weekend, and was happy to make time for one of my favorite holiday-themed romantic comedies, While You Were Sleeping. Sandra Bullock stars as Lucy, a token taker at a Chicago train station who lusts longingly for regular passenger Peter Callahan (Peter Gallagher) whenever he passes through the gate. On Christmas Eve he's pushed onto the tracks, saved from death by express train when Lucy rushes to pull him away. He's in a coma for a week, during which time Lucy is mistaken for his fiancée by his lovable but overbearing family who invite her without hesitation into their lives. Lucy- who has no remaining family- loves feeling a part of something but knows she has to tell them the truth before Peter wakes up, especially when she starts to fall for his brother, Jack (Bill Pullman).

This movie is one of most 90s-ish things ever made, I'm pretty sure. Which is one of the main reasons I dig it, clearly. Everyone dresses just awfully, which is in a way refreshing as our romantic heroine hangs out in frumpy sweaters and turtlenecks, with messy hair and general unglammed-ness. She snorts when she laughs and she makes silly jokes and she talks to her cat, and I think she's a pretty well-realized character, especially for a light-hearted romantic comedy lead. Her conversations with Bill Pullman and the rest of his family are fairly hilarious and reminiscent of holidays spent with my own relatives.

Of course in true romantic comedy fashion there are plenty of over the top situations and ridiculous misunderstandings that can detract from the strength of the characters. I think the most unrealistic thing about this movie is that Peter Gallagher is portrayed as some golden god when we all know he's really silly looking. I mean, seriously.

While You Were Sleeping is basically just super cute, primarily because of its incredible cast (Helloooo Glynis Johns, world's second-best grandma! After my own grandma of course, duh) and strong dialogue. Also maybe I kind of have a crush on Bill Pullman and maybe he's at his peak around this movie. JUST MAYBE.


Pair This Movie With: Well it's no secret I find Sandra Bullock pretty adorable, so I'd go with another of her films. Maybe Miss Congeniality? The Lake House? Love Potion No. 9? Two Weeks Notice? Oh man should I be admitting I've seen all these movies... multiple times?


  1. Wow, 'While You Were Sleeping' about stepping back in time to the mid 90's, I remember seeing this at the cinema with my girlfriend (at the time). Talk about stepping back in time.

    I can't think of a better description than what you said, "one of most 90s-ish things ever made". Absolutely spot on.

    Made before Sandra Bullock was a household name, off the strength of 'Speed' and at a time when audiences everywhere were needing an extra helping of romance.

    I thought that this was a great romantic flick made at the perfect time. Audiences were ready, the cast was great, and it was just a lot of fun. Looking back on it, it's only the cast that makes this re-watchable.

    It's schmaltzy but fun, great review Alex.

  2. This is an easily rewatchable film, like a couple of the Doris Day Rock Hudson films. Any time it's on, I can easily catch a few scenes, or more. And so's LOVE POTION, too.