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Film: Sleeping With The Enemy
Sleeping with the Enemy is a 1991 psychological thriller film, directed by Joseph Ruben. It was based on a 1987 novel of the same name by Nancy Price. The protagonist was Julia Roberts, who escapes from her abusive, obsessive husband, played by Patrick Bergin. She captures the attention of a kindly gentleman, played by Kevin Anderson.

The score by Jerry Goldsmith won the BMI Film Music Award, 1992, and the film was nominated for the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Award for 1992 in four categories: Best Actress (Roberts), Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor (Bergin), Best Horror Film and Best Music (Goldsmith).

Julia Roberts plays Laura Burney, a woman who seemingly has it all: a beautiful home, a wealthy and handsome husband, and anything she may desire.

But her idyllic life is not what it seems, as it is revealed that her perfect husband Martin is also a controlling and abusive man who slaps and kicks her merely for looking at another man out the window. And it's soon established this isn't the first time he's done something like that...

Then, when the Burneys are out on the sea, a storm comes up, and Laura makes a plan to fake her death and finally escape her situation.

This movie provides examples of:

  • Antagonist in Mourning: Pretty much the state Martin was in when he thinks Laura is dead.
  • Attack of the Town Festival: Martin stalks Laura and Ben through a local carnival.
  • Ax-Crazy: Martin.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Subverted. Ben kicks the door in and tries to fight Martin, only to be pistol-whipped into submission very quickly.
  • Break-In Threat: How Martin reveals himself to Laura after tracking her down. First, her bathroom towels are arranged the way he always insisted. She dismisses it when she sees that nothing else is out of the ordinary. . .until she comes home from her date and finds that now the kitchen towels have been rearranged as well, along with the cupboard and hears the fifth movement ("Dream of a Witches' Sabbath") of Symphonie fantastique, which Martin always plays whenever he and Laura have sex, playing.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Martin is almost consistently dressed in black or other dark colors throughout the film, particularly in the scenes where he has tracked Laura down and is stalking her. Because obviously the audience would otherwise never know that he's a bad guy. Conversely, except for a party dress, Laura is mostly clad in whites and pastels.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Martin.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: We learn that Laura told her swimming class classmates that she was a gymnast in order to explain away "all those terrible bruises".
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Subverted, as Laura usually goes barefoot only at home.
  • Domestic Abuser: Martin.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Martin spared the life of a man he thought was Ben because he happens to have a gay lover. Judging by the way he threatened him he didn't seem to have anything against the man's sexual preference, but still threatened him and his lover into silence so he wouldn't get found out.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change/Important Haircut: Laura cuts her hair and wears it frizzy rather than pressed straight, representing her transformation from battered, submissive wife to free woman.
  • False Soulmate: Martin to Laura.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • An interesting case with Laura and Martin's sex scene. The visual—two attractive people going at it—is technically appealing. It's the context that makes it repulsive—he's her abusive husband thinking that he's atoning for having hit her earlier while the expression on her face makes it clear that she hates every minute of this and is faking her enjoyment.
    • There's also Laura running around on the beach in her underwear. Any possible titillation is undone by the fact that this is a woman running for her life—she's just faked a drowning death, swum for miles and has very little time to get her things and get going before her husband returns home.
  • Foreshadowing: The film opens with Laura digging clams for dinner when Martin tells her that he's accepted a party invitation. She hurriedly says that she'll dig fresh clams the next day. Later, while getting ready for the party, she dons a white dress, only to have Martin tell her he prefers her black dress. Despite a mild protest from her that it's too chilly, the next shot is of her wearing the black dress. There's never any violence or coercion in either scene, but both of them hint at Martin's controlling nature and Laura's need to please him lest she incur his wrath.
  • Friends Rent Control: Laura is able to rent, fix up, and maintain a huge, beautiful home, plus pay for all her daily living expenses despite only having a part-time job at a library before her escape, and initially not working at all when she does get away. And when she does start working, she's still in a job that doesn't pay much. Even in an inexpensive place like Iowa, it's too much of a stretch.
    • She's also able to pay for her mother's care at the nursing home, and that isn't cheap either.
  • Groin Attack: Laura does this to Martin in the climax.
  • Idiot Ball: After all the plans she makes to get away from Martin, Laura basically undoes everything by failing to properly dispose of her wedding ring. When Martin inevitably finds it, it tips him off to the fact that she might still be alive.
  • Ironic Echo: The first time Martin makes advances to Laura, she enthusiastically responds and they have great sex. The second time, it's after he's hit her and is trying to make amends and she's visibly forcing herself not to cringe and pretend she's enjoying it.
  • Jump Scare: Towards the end, after shooting Martin three times, Laura collapses to the ground in tears, but then Martin grabs her hair and aims the gun at her. He fires the pistol, but nothing happens.
  • Leitmotif: Symphonie Fantastique—Martin's favorite piece both during the sex scene and when he invades her house and tries to get her back/kill her.
  • Lifetime Movie of the Week: Spins a thriller out of the issue of domestic abuse.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Martin.
  • Made of Iron: Novice swimmer Laura manages to swim a considerable distance without a life vest in the midst of a raging storm, conditions that an Olympic-caliber swimmer would have drowned in, or at least been completely exhausted by, but she manages with ease.
  • Missed Him by That Much: Laura, in disguise, is at the nursing home where her mother and so is Martin. Of course, by the time Martin realizes that Laura was here, he's too late to intercept her and she's already driving away.
  • Nice Guy: Ben
  • Obfuscating Disability: Laura's fear of water and supposedly not knowing how to swim, due to nearly drowning as a child. As such, Martin naturally assumes she drowned in the storm, never knowing that she'd been taking lessons and become a very good swimmer.
  • Oh Crap: The look on Martin's face just before Laura empties her gun into him
  • Out-of-Character Alert: While she doesn't say anything out of the ordinary, Laura's tense, aloof demeanor when Ben shows up quickly tips him off to the fact that Martin is there. Of course, he could have easily spotted his silhouette in the door.
    • Before that, Ben was alerted to the fact that Laura faced abuse in the past when during an intimate night she hesitates. She doesn't tell him the whole story until the next morning, but what he says gives a good idea that he knows enough.
      Ben: What did he do to you?
  • Taking You with Me: Attempted, but averted. After shooting Martin, Laura collapses in tears. Suddenly, he grabs hold of her and points the gun at her head, pulls the trigger...and the gun's empty.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: When Laura shoots Martin, she empties the gun into him. Which turns out to be a very good thing, as it's empty when Martin tries to shoot her with it.
  • Revealing Hug: Laura acts aroused as her husband makes advances to her, but we soon see her upset face over his shoulder throughout the entire sex scene. Is this case, however, the viewer already knows that she's faking it.
  • Super OCD: Martin. The towels have to be symmetrical, as do the cans of food in the cupboard.

The Simpsons MovieCreator/ 20 th Century FoxThe Song of Bernadette
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alternative title(s): Sleeping With The Enemy
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