Sleepless in Seattle

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Do not read this film review if you are likely to find a one-sided, negative,  critique of this popular cultural icon offensive.   For those interested in reading less offended, more detailed,  analyses of the film this UK website provides some interesting analyses.

Sleepless in Seattle?   Puking in Puget (Sound)

Icky, Icky, ICKY.   It prompted a Wendy tantrum,   small inanimate objects flew,   cats hid.   Evidently this film was extremely popular.   This review is intended to redress the balance of the Wendy-perplexing  popularist view.  

 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁          

 Ratings Explained

I could write pages of analysis on this film.   For your readerly sake and sanity  I’ll constrain myself to 3 points and assume that you are familiar with the film.   There are, unfortunately, too  many more that I could make.

Key characters:

  • Male = Tom Hanks = recently widowed father of one son, Architect
  • Female = Meg Ryan = Magazine writer (? I can’t remember and none of the plot reviews I’ve read reference her job,   after all it can’t be important,   she’s only a woman),   engaged to a rich man

Three points of Analysis:

  1. Role reversal would undermine the social acceptability of the plot.   If a man (rather than Meg Ryan) was investigating a widowed woman (rather than Tom Hanks),   while engaged to another woman, following them,   writing them letters, considering a stronger emotional attachment to the ‘stalked’ woman than thier fiance, lying to their fiance,  how would we value that man?   Is this movie saying that it is okay for women to stalk, lie and be unfaithful?   Is it acceptable for a woman to behaive like this?   Is it acceptable for a man to behaive like this?   I’d argue that irrespective of gender this behavior is unacceptable.   That the film places a woman in this role suggests that the film makers,  and potentially viewers, can accept that a woman if deceptive,   unfaithful,   conniving etc.   I consider this a slander.   That it appears acceptable, through the popularity of the film, is more than disappointing.
  2. Widowhood legitimises male singleness.   Why not divorce?   Divorce is more common than widowhood.   Widowhood gives the Tom Hanks character a ‘he’s a good guy’ status.    Divorce could potentially undermine this status because a substantial proportion of the audience would have first-hand expereince of divorce,   would know that mistakes were made, imperfection is implied,  blame is hidden and not fully understood by outsiders.   Using widowhood was a strong strategic ploy to provide the Tom Hanks character with a  good, clean history that we could trust,   it gains audience sympathy without raisng any questions of potentially realistic imperfections.   He  is portrayed as  unblemished.   Why wasn’t the female put in this ‘above and beyond question’ good person role?   I was disappointed that the Tom Hanks role was placed in a socially unquestionable position while the female role was not.
  3. Humour at the expense of portrayed stereotypes of women.   One of the most offensive scenes involved Tom Hanks,   a male friend and his wife disucssing a so called  “chick movie” (An affair to remember).   The woman describes the plot with emotion and empathy and difficult to understand dialog.   Her husband then explains that the non-understandable description is because the film was a ‘chick movie“.   They then parody her expressiveness  while descibing what can only, pressumably,   be a ‘not-chick movie’,   ‘The Dirty Dozen’.   It is pressumably ok to classify films as ‘chick’ and ‘not-chick’ movies,   it is okay to demean this woman’s inarticulate expression as a ‘chick’ thing,   obviously you can’t expect articulate expression from women,   to top it all she laughs at their woman demeaning humour.   Pressumably because she’s a good sort who understands that to be a woman is to be inartiuclate, over emotional and the butt of Jokes.   What a terrific gal.   I nearly puked.   Some internet searches confirmed my suspicion that this film is considered a ‘chick-flick’ itself.   I guess I’m just not a ‘chick’,   I am very definitely a human being and a female,   just not part of this bizarre patriarchal consipiracy that appears to define women as ditsy, unreliable,    seekers of ‘true’ love, with bundles of humility when they are the targets of derrogatory humour.

After having forced myself to watch all of this film I had to consume 4  pots of Tea before I could let myself loose on an unsuspecting public…. …and even then there was some risk involved…

Sleepless in Seattle
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