While You Were Sleeping

Score = C

While You Were Sleeping (1995)

(Romantic Comedy/ PG)

Review by: Kisho Wolfe

Logline:  Saving someone’s life may just be the ticket for your own.

Many times in life we often wish we were somewhere other than our present location or circumstance.  For Lucy Moderatz, the place is Paris, and the circumstance is having a family.  Lucy (Sandra Bullock) is likable, a model employee at Chicago Transit Authority and an all around good person.  So why is she still single? Well, there is this one guy she’s supposed to marry– if only she knew his name.

Every day Lucy sits in her booth, collecting tokens from passengers to ride the train; and every day she’s smitten by a handsome, rich commuter who barely glances at her while dropping in his token.  One day, fate intervenes when she’s coerced into working yet another Christmas holiday.  On this supposedly joyous day, her dream guy happens to be traveling and actually speaks in passing.  She freezes up in the exchange and, while kicking herself for being so “smooth,” witnesses a couple of guys attempting to mug her prince charming.  She sees the muggers push him onto the train tracks and roles are reversed as she throws herself into harm’s way to rescue the unconscious stranger from an oncoming train.

The plot turns up a notch when she meets the stranger’s large family at the hospital and somewhere along the line is mistaken for his fiancé.  Peter (Peter Gallagher)–the stranger– is in a coma and is really in no position to object to this new engagement while Lucy finds herself smack in the middle of the large family she’s always desired. But, Lucy is now torn with the moral dilemma of telling the truth to the folks she’s grown so fond of, in addition to sorting out her feelings about Peter’s conscious brother, Jack (Bill Pullman).

This film was made close to two decades ago and though this is my first time viewing it, I still can’t help but love the ambiance of films made in the early to mid-nineties.  The color treatments, the smell of the transit emitting right off of the screen, etc…  Everything back then involved old school technologies and just a smidge of the new digital methods of film making.

It’s always a pleasure to watch movies that capture a certain essence of their settings,  granted, the film did seem to be a bit off the mark by having a stereotypical “Jersey” feel thanks to a handful of characters, including Peter’s mother and grandmother.    The rest of the characters were vanilla in terms of depth, but didn’t completely destroy the enjoyment.  Sandra Bullock carried the weight of the movie, with Peter Boyle (Peter’s father) and the late Jason Bernard pulling in decent supporting contributions to this romantic comedy; and as such, While You Were Sleeping earns a solid C in my book.

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