Friday, January 12, 2007

Sleepless in Seattle

Sleepless in Seattle (1993) is the classic “chick flick”, a story about love at first sight, and people who are meant to be together that is utterly romantic. However, could the enduring qualities about this film be attributed to the gender of its director? Written and directed by Nora Ephron, Sleepless in Seattle touches on the timeless question of the existence of true love. What distinguishes this film from other “chick flick” romantic comedies is the way love is presented to its audience.
Epron works to develop her characters into “real people” straying from the usual stereotypes for similar films. Gender roles are almost totally set aside within this film. Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) is a sensitive caring father who is lost after the death of his wife, while Annie Reed (Meg Ryan) is a successful journalist who doesn’t believe in fate. Both Hanks and Ryan play incredibly real characters that are easily related to. Whether or not Ephron uses female insight to develop her characters or simply her own insights as a person is irrelevant because her ability to see and understand human motivations and emotions is uncanny.
Hanks’ conversation with his friend Jay (Rob Reiner) about dating is something only a woman would actually write about. I have yet to see another film where a man is so open about his dating worries. He is scared and uncertain, yet Ephron is able to turn this scene into a humorous light hearted conversation while still expressing the emotions of her character. The butts scene as I like to call it really targets male emotions without exploiting the vulnerability of the situation that Hanks finds himself thrust into. She doesn’t allow Hanks’ character to viewed as a bubbling emotional wreck, instead he retains a very masculine personal which becomes incredibly endearing. He is a strong man with a heart, a character that is very rarely depicted in Hollywood today.


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