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While You Were Sleeping
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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What's the story?
In WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING, Lucy (Sandra Bullock) is a Chicago El train token collector who has a crush on a man (Peter Gallagher) who doesn't even know her. Then one day she sees him being mugged and pushed onto the El tracks -- she rescues him and goes with him to the hospital, where a nurse overhears her say to herself, "I was going to marry him." Soon everyone, including Peter's family, thinks she's Peter's fiancé, and Lucy soon finds herself too caught up in the affectionate madness to tell the truth. Even after Peter wakes up -- not remembering her but assuming it's amnesia -- and Lucy realizes she actually loves his brother, Jack (Bill Pullman), she still can't tell the truth. Will she end up marrying the right brother?
Is it any good?
This sweet, romantic fairy tale made a star out of Sandra Bullock, and gave Bill Pullman the chance to show off his softer side. Both give charming performances, and they're supported wonderfully by Peter Boyle, Jack Warden, and Glynis Johns. As Jack's eccentric family, these screen veterans provide a humorous backdrop for the story. Their good-natured warmth makes Lucy's pretense understandable, if not acceptable.
While You Were Sleeping has an old-fashioned feel. While it's patterned after the classic romantic comedies of the 1930s and 1940s (It Happened One Night, The Philadelphia Story), it's not up to the lofty standards of these predecessors. Still, the movie's clever writing, gentle humor, and strong performances make up for its shortcomings. It is a good choice for parents to watch with their older kids, because there's something here to appeal to both generations. A 14-year-old viewer identified with the main character's romantic longings, and her adult companion liked the movie's light humor and happy resolution.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.