Things I Just Don’t Get I: Sleepless in Seattle

Spoiler alert: Do not read on if you’ve never watched Sleepless in Seattle and don’t want to ruin the film for yourself.

Am I the only one who finds the storyline in Sleepless in Seattle rather strange? It is supposed to be a romantic, oh so-lovely movie but I don’t find it so. Random, slightly mad; these are words I’d use to describe it. But romantic? I don’t think so. 

Before watching it for the first time, I had heard that it was fantastic and a tearjerker so I had high expectations but I was left feeling deflated.  Though it wasn’t bad I didn’t feel the tugging of any heartstrings. So I thought that perhaps I’d missed something and I would watch it again. 3 viewings later I have reached the conclusion that I probably will never get it.

The story goes something like this: son of a widowed man in Seattle calls a radio station’s agony aunt because he thinks his dad is sad and needs a wife, woman who lives in Baltimore and is engaged hears his story and decides that she is in love with the boy’s father (like thousands of other women across America) and on that basis arranges to meet them  at the top of the Empire State Building in New York City just like in the movie An Affair To Remember.  I’ll stop my summary here as what I’ve written is enough for me to move on to the main point of this post.

I just can’t seem to understand why jilting your fiancé to meet some stranger you only know of through a radio broadcast is so romantic.  I can understand falling in love or more likely becoming infatuated with someone before meeting them but I can’t make the leap to changing your entire life around on the basis of what could well be an illusion.

The whole ‘the first time I saw him, it was magic’ and ‘I knew we would be together forever’  thing  doesn’t sit very well with me. I think it plays on the idea that fate will lead you to the right person and it feels too airy-fairy for me. Why don’t these movies ever show what happens to all those people who were left behind in the wake of fate leading our hero/heroine to their one-true love?

The other theme I find annoying in the film is the idea that love makes you do crazy things. In fact, you are mandated to go all out in ensuring your happy ending which does not strike me as reasonable at all.  Consequently you get movies where a person who is about to get married realises on the day before or even on the day of the wedding that they’ve been in love with their best friend all along (a bit like Rachel from Friends). And we, the audience, are supposed to applaud the beautiful love story. Never mind the poor, heartbroken fella/gal who has to pick up the pieces.  No one should even dream of pulling that type of stunt on me. I can promise it will not end well.  

Speaking of Meg Ryan movies, I don’ t like When Harry Met Sally either.


6 responses to “Things I Just Don’t Get I: Sleepless in Seattle

  1. I haven’t seen the movie Sleepless in Seattle but your description of it makes me go hmmm. In fact, I shouted BS after reading your description. I don’t think there’s anything romantic about jilting a fiance to go pursue some stranger.

    It’s just like when I was watching Pretty Woman the other day, I kept thinking: “hmmm, i don’t believe that”

    I think infatuation makes you do crazy things though e.g. Sleepless in Seattle. Hmmm, actually infatuation has made me do silly things too.

  2. Hello Sky, i think hmm was exactly my reaction to the movie. Of course infatuation makes people act silly. I won’t go into stories, i’ll just say that facebook does not help matters. Fortunately most of us snap out of it sooner or later. Annie’s behaviour was just taking things too far for me.

  3. the problem I find with watching old movies is this:

    If the movie is old enough to us, say (for me) 70’s 60’s 50’s…. then I can put it into context for the era.

    But if a movie is made in the 80’s… then the clunkiness of the gadgets, the floppy, the shoulder pads, writing on your jeans (I could go on) just make me go hmmm… the way the kiss, the innocence of opening some random spam email and falling in love off it…is just too unbelievable for me.. I’m a morden day geek, the 80’s is too early to be that innocent.

    All this to give background to my question:

    Could it be that ‘When Harry met Sally’ is a bit too early in ‘film life’ for you to regress to and believe in that ‘wide-eyed innocence (for want of a better phrase)?

  4. Hello Soul, what an interesting point! I like this way of looking at the film and i think you may well be right. Perhaps this is truly what people found realistic back in the 90s ( i was too little to notice then) but the 90s weren’t that long ago so i can’t believe that things would have changed that much. The story doesn’t fit what i think of as the modern era.

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