Sleepless in Seattle
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that even teenagers used to edgier fare will fall for this romantic fairytale. Still, parents should know that the main characters are a widower and his young son; the mother's death echoes throughout the movie. There is some mild sexual content and profanity, as well.
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?
Sleepless in Seattle is a throwback to the great romantic comedies of the '30s and '40s. Well written if a tad implausible, it's a fairytale that encourages viewers to believe that true love and destiny will conquer all obstacles. The movie'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.
Families can talk 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. Was what they did right? How could they have handled this and still been truthful with their parents? Families can also compare this movie to An Affair to Remember.