Tuesday, May 18, 2021

While You Were Sleeping

I must have had a glitch with the online shopping sites, because at some point quite a few months back I couldn't find a DVD available for While You Were Sleeping to do a post on it. I looked again and there it was, so here's your post.

Sandra Bullock plays Lucy Moderatz, who doesn't have much of a life. Her father died about a year ago, and she works collecting fares on the el train for the Chicago Transit Authority. She lives an a crummy apartment with her cat, with the son of the building's owner, Joe Fusco Jr. (Michael Rispoli), being a creepy self-styled ladies' man who tries to pick Lucy up despite her clearly not wanting it. Meanwhile, she sees the same good-looking guy depositing a token in her booth on his commute every day, and fantasizes about what this guy might be like.

Since she doesn't have much of a life, she works most holidays and is going to be working Christmas as well. The guy she fantasizes about shows up and, since it's a holiday, there's a lot fewer people on the track, with just this guy and two other guys who, it turns out, are muggers, trying to grab his coat and eventually pushing him off the platform and onto the tracks.

Since there's nobody else there, and the guy is unconscious, it's up to Lucy to save him, which she barely does. Unfortunately, the guy remains unconscious and has to be taken to the hospital by ambulance, with Lucy following when she gets off her shift. Since she's not family, she's not going to get to see the guy, now in a coma. But she talks to herself about the guy, and in the chaos of the ER, somebody concludes that Lucy must be the guy's fiancée, and she goes along with it.

Obviously, the guy's family doesn't know anything about this, since of course Lucy isn't really engaged to him. The guy is lawyer Peter Callaghan, elder son of estate sale arranger "Ox" (Peter Boyle) and grandson of Elsie (Glynis Johns). Peter has a kid brother Jack (Bill Pullman) who got roped into the family business since Peter decided to become a lawyer. Peter's not going into the family business would help explain why he doesn't see the rest of the family so often and why they wouldn't know if he'd gotten engaged recently. (To be fair, being Christmas, you could reasonably expect an engaged couple to hold off announcing it until the holidays.)

Since Lucy saved Peter's life and the Callaghans think she's Peter's fiancée, they invite her over for the holiday dinner they didn't get to have on Christmas what with the accident. Lucy realizes that this is a really nice family, people she never had in her life since her mom died quite young and she's an only child. Jack, however, wonders whether something might be wrong with this.

The viewers, of course, know exactly what's wrong with it. The only person who discovers is Saul (Jack Warden), Peter's godfather. He overheard Lucy talking to the comatose Peter confessing her lie, and Saul doesn't want her to say anything just yet because of just how much it would break everybody's hearts. Another complication is that Peter had another girlfriend, Ashley, and although it was apparently a rocky relationship, she decided that she really was going to accept his marriage proposal after all.

The last and most predictable complication is that as Jack is trying to prove Lucy wrong, the two find themselves really liking each other, to the point that Jack is finally ready to tell his father his true passion is making furniture, while Lucy might be falling in love with Jack, which is a problem since she's supposed to be engaged to Peter as far as everybody else knows. And what's going to happen when Peter wakes up?

While You Were Sleeping is predictable, but fun, thanks to the amiable performances of the leads along with the older actors getting one more chance to be useful. I didn't realize going in that it was set around Christmastime, and it is really the sort of movie you'd want to watch on a cold December evening with a warm blanket wrapped around you. Sure there are some plot holes (it should have been a lot easier to explain Joe to Jack) and improbabilities, but when watching a movie like this, you don't really think about such things.

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