While You Were Sleeping



Appealing family comedy with old-fashioned feel.
Popular with kids
  • Review Date: July 14, 2003
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1995
  • Running Time: 103 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Family love, loss, loneliness, honesty and romance are all in this story. While the main character, Lucy, lies in the beginning she redeems herself.

Positive role models

The main character lies to get what she wants, but realizes she must tell the truth.


A man is mugged and pushed onto train tracks.


Some sexual references and kissing.


Some mild cursing.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie is basically an old fashioned comedy with a bit of cursing and some selfish behavior. There's also a bit of sexual innuendo.

What's the story?

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the great tradition of romantic comedies.

  • What makes them funny?

  • What's the tension that gets resolved?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 21, 1995
DVD release date:February 4, 1998
Cast:Bill Pullman, Peter Gallagher, Sandra Bullock
Director:Jon Turteltaub
Studio:Hollywood Pictures
Run time:103 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some language

This review of While You Were Sleeping was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byyankeepeg July 16, 2009

Definitely not appropriate for under 12 !

I really like this movie myself, but more conservative parents might object to the language and innuendo. One character lies to others that he's having a sexual relationship with another character. One character is cheating on her husband who IS THERE and knows about it and wants her back. This same cheating wife calls another character a "one-balled bast**d". When the main character states that she and her alleged-fiance are waiting until they're married to have a sexual relationship, her best friend looks at her like she's crazy!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written byanonymous343 April 9, 2008

A must-see for tweens!!

I watched this movie for the second time, after seeing it a really long time ago, and I loved it. It's a great, funny romance, with great actors, and clever plot. There's a few things brought up about underwear, but it really isn't a problem, and although the main character lies about the main plot, I think that's what makes it interesting. I think ages 9 and up. MUST WATCH!!!!!
Kid, 10 years old December 29, 2009

Watch This Movie and Enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Probably one of the best romantic comedies in the world! It showed up on my recomendations page and so I decided to give it a shot. It is awesome!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Great messages


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Special Needs Guide