Sweet natured romantic comedy about recently widowed Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) who moves from Chicago to Seattle with his son Jonah (Ross Malinger) to distance themselves from their grief. Worried about his devastated father, Jonah calls into a radio show to ask for help on Christmas Eve and coerces Sam onto the air to pour his heart out to the nation. Across the country in Baltimore, Annie (Meg Ryan) – who is already engaged – hears the broadcast and becomes infatuated with Sam and his tragic story. Unhappy with her mundane existence with her fiance she is secretly desperate for fate to intervene and change her life. Although billed as a rom-com 'Sleepless in Seattle' is more of a gentle romantic drama, but what it lacks in consistent laughs it makes up for with two beautifully drawn characters embodied by two of cinema’s most likeable screen presences, Hanks and Ryan. A naturalistic script and understated direction (both from Nora Ephron) allow the leads to completely own their roles and quietly draw out genuine emotion from the audience without ever feeling corny or contrived. The heartbreaking set-up of the recently widowed Sam isn’t glossed over and Hanks and Malinger share some incredibly touching scenes with completely believable father and son chemistry, as they both struggle to come to terms with their new life. Ryan is equally accomplished as the unsettled Annie waiting for fate to show her the way. The soundtrack is well selected with plenty of old favourites and gems that add to the truly heart-warming experience - one that won’t necessarily live long in the memory, but provides 100 minutes of pure touching escapism. It’s a comforting sentimental film that has the potential to soften the stoniest of hearts, and is deserving of a watch - if only to see Hanks and Ryan in their prime.
[ 1993 — Dir: Nora Ephron — 105 mins — PG cert — IMDb ]