While You Were Sleeping (1995)
June 26, 2023 5:48 PM - Subscribe

A hopelessly romantic Chicago Transit Authority token collector is mistaken for the fiancee of a coma patient.

Lonely transit worker Lucy Eleanor Moderatz (Sandra Bullock) pulls her longtime crush, Peter (Peter Gallagher), from the path of an oncoming train. At the hospital, doctors report that he's in a coma, and a misplaced comment from Lucy causes Peter's family to assume that she is his fiancée. When Lucy doesn't correct them, they take her into their home and confidence. Things get even more complicated when she finds herself falling for Peter's sheepish brother, Jack (Bill Pullman).

Charlotte Harrison: The fun thing about this film is, it’s on the cusp of creepy and it’s down to the charm of the leads that it really isn’t and ends up being one of the finest romantic comedies of the 90s. A hopelessly romantic Chicago Transit Authority token collector (Sandra Bullock) has been lusting over commuter Peter (Peter Gallagher) for as long as she can remember. When an accident occurs, and Peter ends up in a coma, she finds herself being mistaken as his fiancée. Enamoured with his close-knit family, she decides to play the role – although a growing connection with his brother Jack (Bill Pullman) may just jeopardise everything. I know, just trust me with this one. If you’re not sure, Bill Pullman as a plaid lumberjack shirt wearing grumpy love interest should be reason enough.

Janet Maslin: Ms. Bullock is the film's main attraction, bringing a warm smile and a winning array of mannerisms to her role. A shy heroine in the gorgeous-wallflower tradition, she drowns in oversized clothing as Annie Hall did and seems in a perpetual state of comic dishevelment. Forever covering her mouth bashfully or shrugging off life's affronts to her dignity, she has trouble only with being too radiant for her character's supposed mousiness. Well, that's what makes this a fairy tale.

Barbara Shulgasser: Bill Pullman has been compared to Ralph Bellamy for being a good-looking, competent actor who is known for playing the guy who doesn't get the girl because he is presentable but boring. But the actor he has always reminded me of is Gig Young, in looks, sense of humor and in self-deprecating charm.

In "While You Were Sleeping," Pullman gets the girl, but not because he's turned into Cary Grant. He is still a secondary kind of fellow. His charm is slow-acting. He grows on you. He is becoming Gig Young. Young would have been perfect as the fellow who falls in love with his comatose brother's supposed fiancee.

posted by Carillon (12 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Definitely a movie that shouldn't work as well as it does given the premise. I think it helps that she's clearly torn and understands why this is a bad idea, but helps us empathize with her as to why she falls into it feet first. Bullock and Pullman are also crucial to the success it finds, they are very cute together, and the chemistry pulls you along enough so it all works out.
posted by Carillon at 5:50 PM on June 26, 2023 [3 favorites]

The scene at Mass is a delight. Joe Jr. is comedy gold. I love this movie not because I want Lucy to end up with Jack (though I do), but because I want Lucy to be a part of this family.
posted by epj at 7:18 PM on June 26, 2023 [3 favorites]

Where can we stream this?
posted by Ideefixe at 7:58 PM on June 26, 2023 [1 favorite]

Yo, Luce! Are you okay? Because it looks like he’s … leaning.

Love Joe Jr. I saw the actor - Michael Rispoli - in a great off Broadway play a few years back and he was fantastic.
posted by jilloftrades at 6:31 AM on June 27, 2023 [2 favorites]

Ugh, I don’t agree with the Gig Young comparison; to me he always seemed to be playing smarmy characters. This is an impossibly charming movie with a great cast. It was Glynis John’s penultimate role and she’s still alive at age 99.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:04 AM on June 27, 2023 [1 favorite]

Ideefixe, it’s avail on Disney+!
posted by sprezzy at 7:50 PM on June 27, 2023

This movie only works because of just how damn charming Sandra Bullock is.
posted by drewbage1847 at 9:56 PM on June 27, 2023 [1 favorite]

This movie shouldn't work, this ridiculous plot shouldn't work, and yet it does. Somehow Sandra, Bill and Peter sell this whole preposterous thing. Peter buys into it all like a naive puppy dog to some degree ("I remember everything else BUT this woman....well, okay?!") and damned if they don't all make it work, but especially him when you think about it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:21 PM on June 28, 2023 [2 favorites]

Ideefixe, it's also on Paramount+, according to Justwatch.
posted by mediareport at 8:57 AM on June 29, 2023 [1 favorite]

So I love this movie as a rom-com and a Christmas movie, but most importantly I think this is incredibly underrated as a Chicago movie! She literally works for the CTA, which comes up a LOT. Her lil Logan Square courtyard building looks like every building everyone I know has ever lived in. Joe Junior has absolutely been my personal landlord. Even their family's fancy house out in the suburbs! Idk, it's all perfect and I love it
posted by goodbyewaffles at 7:34 PM on June 29, 2023 [1 favorite]

This movie only works because of just how damn charming Sandra Bullock is.

Mid-90s Sandra Bullock crush: renewed.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:16 PM on July 4, 2023

@goodbyewaffles: Absolutely! It made me fall in love with Chicago long before I came to the midwest. Sandy B is the best!
posted by Lookinguppy at 9:22 AM on July 5, 2023

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