Most romantic film #60: Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

Wow, it was 30 years ago this film came out… gotta get over that, first of all.

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In some ways, for my generation, this was the quintessential romance movie. It referred back to the great classic of our parents’ day, An Affair to Remember, and yet did its own 90’s thing.

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And solidly launched the careers onscreen of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in “lead actor” terms. Ryan went on to make a string of rom-coms, while Hanks kept moving up and away from romantic leads. Oh, and really kicked the writing-directing career of Nora Ephron into high gear, too.

The film includes the wonderful Bill Pullman as Annie’s fiance, Rosie O’Donnell as her boss, Rob Reiner as Sam’s friend (who tries to explain 90’s dating etiquette to Sam), and the charming young Ross Malinger as Jonah. The visual/production style, costumes and music are superb backdrops to the “soulmates” story, soulmates who find each other despite a continent and other people between them…

My favorite moments:

  • Sam (Hanks) trying to explain to his son Jonah why a woman who lives in Baltimore can’t be the “right” woman… using a map.
  • Jonah and his BFF Jessica planning Jonah’s trip to NYC.
  • Annie (Ryan) seeing Sam (Hanks) with his sister Suzy (played by Hanks’ spouse Rita Wilson) and thinking Suzy is Sam’s wife/girlfriend… the reactions of Annie and Sam make for a lovely moment onscreen.
  • The discussion of emo-moments in An Affair to Remember and The Dirty Dozen from the male/female point of view: best explanation of the difference between chick flicks and bromances EVER!

And of course Sam’s initial phone call explaining why his dead wife was the love of his life and why he’s not looking for someone now.

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