While You Were Sleeping (1995)

– Directed by Jon Turteltaub

– Starring Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman, Peter Gallagher 

Heartwarming. Simply heartwarming, and sweet, and sincere. While You Were Sleeping is the story of a lonely girl who finds love and family after being mistaken for the fiancé of a man who lies in a coma.

You first join Lucy, played by Sandra Bullock, reminiscing about her childhood with her father, the places he took her and the stories he told. Those were the most joyful moments of her life. Unfortunately, her current life is empty. It hits you hard when Lucy’s employer recommends her for Employee of the Month for her work ethic. True, she works every holiday but not because she is devoted to her job at the CTA. She works because she has no one to go home to. Lucy is alone, bereft of family and love. The one thing Lucy most yearns for is the companionship and connection that family brings.

What Lucy does look forward to everyday is seeing the man for whom she has fallen. Just one thing; She has never spoken with him. She doesn’t even know his name. To him she might as well not even exist, but everything changes one Christmas Day. On that day, she saves the object of her attraction after he is mugged and pushed onto the train tracks.

What follows is a comedy of errors. Peter Callahan’s family, believing her to be their unconscious son’s fiancé, accepts her into their hearts and home. Lucy, reluctant to leave this family that has embraced her, hilariously accepts the role of Peter’s fiancé. Meanwhile she must deal with the suspicions of Peter’s brother, Jack, in addition to her growing feelings for him.

Like “A Room with a View” the film’s atmosphere owes a lot to the city of Chicago. You fully believe that the quirky, but genuine Callahan family could be found here. In fact, the whole film is genuine. It feels less like a fiction and more like a window into the lives of some of its residents. You immediately see the feelings Sandra Bullock’s and Bill Pullman’s characters show for each other. And like Lucy you can’t help but fall in love with the family that she has joined. 

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