Sleepless in Seattle

Movie review by
Common Sense Media Editors, Common Sense Media
Sleepless in Seattle Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Romantic '90s fairy tale has some cursing, sex.
  • PG
  • 1993
  • 100 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 11 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

When two people are meant to be together, love will somehow find a way. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sam is a good father to his son Jonah, even as he grieves the loss of his wife and Jonah's mother. Jonah cares deeply for Sam, and calls a relationship-themed talk radio show to try and help him and his loneliness. 


In a moment of anger and frustration, a father tells his son that he needs to get "laid," and that he has slept with eight women in his life. A boy asks his father if his Dad is having sex, tells him he knows about sex because a friend of his has cable. Talk of orgasms on a talk radio program. Two diner waitresses, listen to a man talking about trying to raise a young son while still grieving over the loss of his wife, and one of them says that she "wouldn't kick him out of bed." A mother talks of sex with her daughter, a bride-to-be. 


Infrequent profanity: "s--t." In a moment of anger and frustration, a father tells his young son that he needs to get "laid," and that he's slept with eight women in his life. Talk of orgasms on a talk radio show. Tame talk of sex amongst a mother and daughter and two diner waitresses. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Beer drinking in a bar. Wine drinking at dinner. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sleepless in Seattle is an Oscar-nominated 1993 romantic "dramedy" about a widower whose son calls a relationship-centered talk show to help him find love. Families in the early stages of grieving the death of a loved one in the family should avoid this movie, as it centers on a man whose wife passed young to cancer, and he's still trying to cope from day to day. There is some open talk of sex between the father and the young boy. In a moment of anger and frustration, Sam the father tells his son that the reason he's trying to date a woman he's not very interested is because, "I'm getting laid." He then talks of how he has slept with eight women his entire life. In an earlier scene, Jonah asks about his father having sex; when Sam asks how Jonah knows about sex, he mentions how a friend has cable. Infrequent profanity: "s--t."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySpencer H. October 10, 2019

Funny, one of the best movies romances for pre-teens and up only

Re-watched this the other night for the first time in years and it was my girlfriend's first time seeing it. We both loved it and laughed a lot. However wi... Continue reading
Adult Written bymatthewc August 11, 2015

A little risqué for a PG rating.

I watched this movie with my mom and I was shocked at how much sexual innuendo and references were in it. The fact that it's PG really angers me because of... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byMJ33 March 12, 2021
Sleepless in Seattle is a cute romcom. The story is centered around a widower who is forced onto a radio talk show after his son says "he needs a new wife... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old July 10, 2020

Must-watch RomCom

I watched this for my after-school film club and loved it! Barley any cursing, and not much sexual stuff. Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks make a cute couple on the scree... Continue reading

What's the story?

In SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, young Jonah wants his widowed dad, Sam (Tom Hanks), to find a new wife. When Jonah calls up a radio talk show and starts talking to the host about how lonely his dad is, Sam eventually gets on the line and pours his heart out. Across the country, Annie (Meg Ryan) hears Sam and eventually comes to believe they're destined for each other, even though she's engaged to nice-but-dull Walter (Bill Pullman). Sam becomes a sensation after the radio show, and multitudes of women send him love letters. With some parallels to the classic 1957 romance An Affair to Remember, this sweet romance follows Annie as she heads to Seattle to meet the man of her dreams.

Is it any good?

This is a throwback to the great romantic comedies of the '30s and '40s. It's well written if a tad implausible: a fairy tale that encourages viewers to believe that true love and destiny will conquer all obstacles. Sleepless in Seattle's structure is a little frustrating; the two main characters spend almost the entire film apart. In less skilled hands, their separate stories could have fallen flat, but first-time director Nora Ephron manages to pull it off.

Great casting helps. Tom Hanks has never been more appealing and vulnerable, and Meg Ryan is the embodiment of impetuous romance. Rosie O'Donnell and Rob Reiner inject some tart humor as their sidekicks, making sure the story never becomes overly sentimental. There aren't many movies that parents can watch with older kids; this is one of the rare exceptions. Adults will enjoy the star-crossed romance, and kids will respond to Jonah's predicament. They'll also like the interactions between Jonah and his friend Jessica, a wise and very sarcastic little girl.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Jessica and Jonah mean well, but hide the truth from their parents when conspiring to get Jonah to New Your City in their attempt to get Annie and Sam together in Sleepless in Seattle. Was what they did right? How could they have handled this and still been truthful with their parents?

  • Sleepless in Seattle was a romantic movie that seems to hearken back to a time when movie pairs from the '30s and '40s brought romance to the silver screen. What are some examples of movie pairs known for their work together in romantic movies, past and present? What do you think is the enduring appeal of these movies? 

  • Are romantic movies entertaining because they outline the ups and downs of trying to find and keep love, or does it set unrealistic expectations for those who want to believe in the romantic "happily ever after"-type ending? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love rom-coms

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