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.