Film / Sleepless In Seattle

Annie: [watching An Affair to Remember] Now that was when people knew how to be in love. They knew it! Time, distance... nothing could separate them because they knew. It was right. It was real. It was...
Becky: A movie! That's your problem! You don't want to be in love. You want to be in love in a movie.

A 1993 Sleeper Hit which infused a fluffy Romantic Comedy with a degree of Post Modernism. As director/co-writer Nora Ephron put it, "Our dream was to make a movie about how movies screw up your brain about love and then if we did a good job, we would become one of the movies that screwed up people's brains about love forever."

Tom Hanks is Sam Baldwin, a widower grieving over his wife's death. His cutie son Jonah's idea of helping him involves calling a radio talk show and putting his dad on the air. Annie Reed (Meg Ryan) happens to tune in when this happens and she falls in love with him. Sam and Annie then spend the rest of the movie trying to find reasons not to meet. You can guess what happens at the end.

The film is a bit non-traditional in that the romantic leads don't even meet until the very end (except briefly earlier on).


This film provides examples of:

  • Adorably Precocious Child: Jonah is absolutely adorable, and way too smart for his age.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: DREAMS COME TRUE's "Winter Song" is the theme song for the movie in Japan, although the lyrics are in English.
  • Annoying Laugh / The Hyena: That horrendously annoying woman Sam dates. Jonah even says she sounds like a hyena.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Annie manages to follow Sam and Jonah from Lake Union to Alki Beach despite them being in a boat while she's in a car. This either requires Annie managing to guess where Sam and Jonah are headed and drive at improbable speeds, or have an amphibious rental car.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Spoken by Jessica's mother when she and Sam ask Jessica where Jonah went and she says, "He's on his way to New York".
  • Creator Cameo: When Annie is in the kitchen in the middle of the night listening to the 'best of' radio callers, the caller 'Disappointed in Denver' is voiced by director Nora Ephron.
  • Disposable Fiancé: Walter, possibly the most disposable of all disposable fiancés.
  • Distant Prologue: The opening scenes establish the death of Sam's wife and his decision to move to Seattle. After the intro, the time stamp informs the viewer that it's 18 months later.
  • Held Gaze: The Anniversary Edition DVD cover shows Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan looking into each other's eyes like this because it is the quintessential "romantic" pose.
  • Mistaken for Romance: Annie sees Jonah and Sam embracing a woman and assumes she's Sam's new girlfriend (it doesn't help that her hairstyle is identical to Victoria's, whom she saw in a photograph). It turns out she's Sam's sister, come to town for a visit.
  • The Mountains of Illinois: In 1993, Seattle had a bus tunnel, not a subway.
  • No Romantic Resolution: What happens after they meet?
  • Parent with New Paramour: At one point, Sam dates a woman who Jonah hates.