With chemistry that was to make a reappearance in the 1998 film You’ve Got Mail, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan star in the 1993 romance Sleepless in Seattle. Although rarely appearing on screen together during the film’s entire 105 minute run, the duo’s performances are memorable.
From the brains behind When Harry Met Sally (Nora Ephron), Sleepless in Seattle tells the story of Sam Baldwin (Hanks) who, still grieving the loss of his wife, is plunged back into the dating world after his son Jonah takes things into his own hands. Unwittingly becoming a radio sensation when Jonah calls Doctor Marcia, a radio therapist, in a desperate bid to cure his father’s heartache, Sam is inundated with love letters from hundreds of adoring fans including Meg Ryan’s Annie who just happened to be listening to the show. Cue near-misses galore as the two unknowingly find their paths crossing… should Annie really dismiss fate so easily?
Despite having to come to terms with his wife’s death, Tom Hanks saves Sam from being overly depressing. Upbeat but still a little reserved, Sam provides the film with one half of its appeal. The other, of course, is Ryan’s Annie. Stuck in a too-perfect relationship, she becomes obsessed with Doctor Marcia’s mysterious caller and is intent on meeting him. Forgettable fiancé Walter (Bill Pullman) is surprisingly un-miffed by her actions, instead choosing to embrace their inevitable fate. Jonah is refreshingly not annoying (as so many young actors can be in such films) whilst Hanks’s real wife Rita Wilson stars as Suzy, Annie’s believable best friend.
All the best things about romantic comedies are present in Sleepless in Seattle; likeable leads, two big Hallmark events of the year and sappy scenes including Ryan and Hanks saying the same words at the same time – if on other sides of America. The film’s romantic soundtrack tops off the endless soppy assault but knits the film together perfectly to make for a heart-warming story that wont have you rolling your eyes in desperation at all the clichés.
Although they may only share two minutes on-screen together, Sleepless in Seattle enjoyably explores love and fate through the hugely likeable pairing of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks.
Best performance: Tom Hanks.
Watch this if you liked: When Harry Met Sally, Big, Joe vs. Volcano, You’ve Got Mail.