While You Were Sleeping

Movie review by
Common Sense Media Editors, Common Sense Media
While You Were Sleeping Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Appealing family comedy with old-fashioned feel.
  • PG
  • 1995
  • 103 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 16 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

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 & Representations

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.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that While You Were Sleeping is basically a charming, old-fashioned comedy with a bit of cursing and some selfish behavior. There's also a bit of sexual innuendo.

Wondering if While You Were Sleeping is OK for your kids?

Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 13, 17, and 18+-year-old Written byColourful Threads May 20, 2018

Sweet and funny

This was perfect for a girls-night-out with my 13 year old daughter. It was a great balance of humor and romance without being cheesy or sappy. Lucy is compete... Continue reading
Adult Written bydanzhr January 23, 2016

Love this movie!

This is one of my favorite movies! My daughter and I watch this almost every time we have a movie night. It is a total romantic comedy, and Sandra Bullock is... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old July 25, 2020


it's a very interesting movie and i would TOTALLY recommend
Teen, 13 years old Written byone.single.flame October 11, 2019

Great Movie

I think that this movie was really good, compared to some of the ratings. It was a great family movie for all the girls.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the great tradition of romantic comedies. How does While You Were Sleeping fit in?

  • What makes them funny?

  • What's the tension that gets resolved?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romance

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate