Sleepless in Seattle
(Romantic Comedy) ( 1993)
© 2000 by Raymond Weschler
Major Characters Sam Baldwin...........Tom Hanks An architect whose wife has recently died of cancer, who decides to move from Chicago to Seattle in order to start a new life. Annie Reed............Meg Ryan A Baltimore writer who hears of Sam’s story on the radio, and who becomes convinced that it is her "fate" to be with Sam, even though she does not know him. Jonah Baldwin.........Ross Malinger Sam’s eight year old son who wants his dad to find a new wife that will make them happy, and who tells the whole country this on a national radio talk show. Walter................Bill Pullman Annie’s fiancée, who is a nice man, but not a person that Annie is passionately in love with. Becky.................Rosie O’Donnell Annie’s friend and co-worker at the newspaper where Annie works. Victoria..............Barbara Garrick A woman who Sam tries to date, but who Jonah does not like. Jessica...............Gaby Hoffmann Jonah’s friend, who tries to help him find the perfect new wife for Sam. Plot Summary This film is a romantic comedy about Sam Baldwin and Annie Reed, two people who have never really met each other. Sam is a nice young architect whose wife dies of cancer, who decides to move from Chicago to Seattle in order to start a new life with his son. He decides to change cities because everything in Chicago reminds him of his wife, and he hopes moving to Seattle will end his depression. It doesn’t really, and thus Jonah, Sam’s sweet eight year old son, decides to do what he can to find his dad a new wife and himself a new mom. One day, Jonah phones a national radio call-in show to tell the world that his father needs a new wife, and Sam suddenly finds himself talking to millions of people, mostly women. One of those women is Annie, a very cute and reasonably happy young writer in Baltimore, who is engaged to get married to Walter. Walter himself is a nice guy, but Annie is frustrated because she is not madly in love with him, and after hearing Sam and Jonah, she starts to think that Sam is the man that she should truly be with. After Annie sees what she thinks are a variety of "signs" that she and Sam are meant to be together, she soon decides to do everything she can to meet him (even though he lives on the other side of the country). Ultimately, this is a sweet little movie about the nature of life in general, and whether the things that happen to us are because of what some people call destiny, or simply a series of events with no particular cause. Some Words and Expressions that You May not Know Sam and Jonah begin a new life in Seattle after the death of Sam’s wife, and in Baltimore, Annie prepares for a life with Walter. Five minutes in the microwave. A "microwave oven" cooks food much faster than other ovens. My shrink. Call him. A "shrink" is a very slangy but widely used word for a psychologist. Loss of spouse support group. A "spouse" is a husband or wife, and a "support group" is a group of people with the same type of problem who come together to support each other emotionally. Hug a friend. "To hug" a person is to hold them close to your chest, or to embrace them. Work is the only thing that will see you through this. In this case, "to see a person through" a difficult situation is to help them survive it. Don’t mind him; He’s just a guy who lost his wife. "Don’t mind" him is a way of telling a person to ignore or not pay attention to him. Take a couple weeks off. "To take off" some time from work is leave the job in order to relax or go on vacation. I’ll move on...and in a few months, boom, I’ll be fine. "To move on" from a difficult situation is to leave it behind. "Boom" is the word used for the sound of an explosion, or as here, a sudden or dramatic change. If a person is "fine," they’re doing OK. Seattle. Chicago. Baltimore. Three important American cities: Seattle is in the state of Washington, on the West coast, Chicago is in Illinois, in the Midwest, and Baltimore is in Maryland, on the East Coast. Harold, who ran off with his secretary. "To run off" with a person is to go away with them. It can imply, as in this case, in order to have a sexual affair. He came back, because Irene threatened to put the dog to sleep if he didn’t. "To threaten" a person is to warn them that they face punishment or other bad consequences if they do not act in a certain way. "To put an animal to sleep" is a very gentle way of saying to kill them, often because they are suffering. Don’t mention the IRS or the Federal Prison system. The Internal Revenue System, which is the US government organization that is responsible for collecting taxes. Your uncle Milton lost all his money in a pyramid scheme. A "pyramid scheme" is an illegal (and stupid) investment in which people gamble on the hope that others will join the club in order so that they can make money (A "pyramid" is a triangular structure shaped like those in Egypt, and a "scheme" is often an illegal plan that is created by one person in order to get money from others). Am I what they have in mind? "Am I the type of person they are thinking about?" Walter and I are engaged! If two people are "engaged," they have decided to get married. He’s allergic to everything. If a person is "allergic" to something, they start to cough and get sick if they eat it, or even get too close to it. We always have to carry a hypodermic of adrenaline wherever we go. A "hypodermic" is a medical needle that is used to give shots. "Adrenaline" is a hormone or chemical in the blood. My head swells up like a watermelon and I drop dead. If something "swells up," it increases in size. What did we use it for? :: Uncle Milton’s parole. In this case, "parole" is the act of being released from prison early, under certain conditions, such as promising not to leave the country. Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. This is a famous line from a speech that the baseball star Lou Gherig gave in 1939 to fans at Yankee Stadium, after it was announced that he was dying of a mysterious disease (now called "Lou Gherig’s Disease"). I would like to propose a toast to my kid sister. "To propose a toast" is usually to raise up a glass of champagne at a meal and say kind words about somebody. A person’s "kid sister" is their younger sister. A common term of affection. He’s a lovely man, Annie. "Lovely" is a British word that generally means good, admirable or attractive. Are his folks nice? A widely used word for parents, or sometimes, people. We’re going down to DC tonight. Washington DC, which is the US Capital. He got my lettuce and tomato on whole wheat, which of course, he was allergic to. A type of sandwich, which is usually served with a type of meat such as roast beef or tuna (Whole wheat is the type of bread). How amazing! :: One day you order take out, and it changes your life. "Amazing" is a powerful and common adjective meaning wonderful, remarkable or incredible. If a person "orders take out," they ask a restaurant for food to be eaten elsewhere (often at home). Destiny takes a hand! "Destiny" is another word for fate, or something that had to have happened, perhaps because God or the universe wanted it to. "Destiny takes a hand" is a way of saying fate has changed life. Destiny is something we’ve invented because we can’t stand the fact that everything that happens is accidental. If a person "can’t stand" something, they hate it, or in this case, they can’t accept it. The above sentence shows that many people do not believe in destiny or fate, but simply believe that things just happen without any particular cause. It wasn’t a sign. It was a coincidence. In this case. "a sign" is way of saying that a particular event is representative of a person’s fate, destiny or larger plan. A "coincidence" is the occurrence of two events that look like they are related but in fact just happen by chance. He asked me to take a midnight walk on the steel pier. A "pier" is a narrow piece of land or man-made structure that sticks out into the water. Walter; it’s quite a formal name, isn’t it? If a name is "formal," it is official, ceremonial or conservative. I knew your father and I were going to have a wonderful time in the sack. To get "in the sack" with a person is to get into bed with them, or more specifically, to have sex with them. It took several years before everything worked like clockwork in that department. "To work like clockwork" is a slangy way of saying to work well or efficiently (Here, Annie’s mom is talking about sex). When we’re old and gray, you’ll have to remind me to put my teeth in, or I’ll be walking all over town smacking my gums together and not even noticing. "To smack" something is to hit or slap it. "Gums" are the part of the mouth that your teeth are attached to. Jonah lets the world know that Sam needs a new wife, and soon thousands of women, including Annie, want to be her. I’m broadcasting live across America from the top of the Sears tower in Chicago. "To broadcast live" is to send out a radio or TV show that is being heard or seen as it’s being made (not from a tape). The Sears Tower is the tallest building in the United States. Is he busy? :: Not really, he’s out on the deck. An outdoor platform, usually made of wood, where people often relax and eat. Wretched woman! "Wretched" is a powerful adjective that means much hated and useless, or perhaps extremely poor and pitiful. Wanna bet? Note that "want to"---> "wanna" in fast speech. "To bet" is to gamble. If I get yelled at, I’m never going to listen to your show again. "To yell" at somebody is to scream at them. If you just tuned in, this is Dr, Marsha Fieldstone. "To tune in" to a radio show is to start to listen to it, perhaps after searching around for other radio stations. What are you selling tonight? Micro hibachis or the ginza knives? A "hibachi" is a type of Japanese frying pan (And ginza knives are a brand of very sharp Japanese knife). You are on the air! To be "on the air" is to be in the process of being broadcast over TV or radio. Come on, now! I’m not going to go through this alone. "Come on" is the most versatile phrasal verb in English, here meaning "Be reasonable!" If you "go through" something, you experience or survive it. Talk to her. She’s a doctor. :: Of what? Note that a doctor is usually a doctor of medicine, but in fact a person with a Ph.D. can have a doctorate degree in such fields as history or art. Dr. Marsha, I don’t mean to be rude... A very good word for impolite or disagreeable. I don’t want to invade your privacy. :: Sure you do. "To invade a person’s privacy" is to try and find out things about them that are personal, intimate or that they don’t want to talk about. We had a pretty tough time there, at first, but we’re dealing with it. If a person has had a "tough time," they have had a lot of serious problems, difficulties or even tragedies. "To deal with" something is to accept it or perhaps to learn to try and work with it. Something must still be missing if Jonah still feels you’re under a cloud. A poetic way of saying to be depressed or very sad. Let’s get into that right after these messages. In this case, "to get into" a topic is to begin to seriously discuss it. We’ll be right back with your listener response. In this case, a reference to the listeners of a radio talk show that call into the host to express their views on the air. This is where other people call in and get to dump on what you said. Here, "to dump on" a person is a very slangy way of saying to severely criticize them. I bet he’s tall with a cute butt. :: Bet he hasn’t bathed in weeks and he stinks. "I bet" is an extremely common way for a person to say that they are certain about something. "Cute" is a great little word for adorable or precious, and a person’s "butt" is their ass or derriere. Maybe I’ll hustle myself out to Seattle and give him a little gift for New Year’s Eve. "To hustle oneself" to another place is a slangy way of saying to go there, often with great effort because there is no easy transportation. They don’t cut anything before they stick it in the fridge. A common short word for refrigerator. I wouldn’t kick this guy out of bed for eating crackers; You know what I’m saying? A very common and colloquial way of saying "Do you understand what I mean?" People who truly loved once are far more likely to love again. An interesting bit of popular psychology. After a while, I won’t have to think about how I had it great and perfect for a while. A grammatically curious way of saying "I had a great life." It was a million tiny little things, and when you added them all up, it just meant that we were supposed to be together. "Tiny little" is a poetic use of two similar adjectives that has in fact become fairly common. "To add up" a group of things is to add them together to make a greater whole. Well folks, it’s time to wrap it up. "To wrap up" a project is to finish it. Colloquial and common. To "Sleepless in Seattle," let us know how it’s going. :: You can count on it. If a person asks "How’s it going?," they’re asking how life is in general. (Note that "Sleepless in Seattle" is the nickname that’s given to Sam). He is the meanest man in America. A person who is mean is rude, abusive or unpleasant. Phone service in the greater Chicago area was tied up for two hours... when some kids calls a phone-in radio show and says his dad needs a new wife. If phone service is "tied up," it is difficult to make a call because too many people are trying to use the phone at the same time. A "phone-in" radio show is a talk show in which listeners get a chance to express themselves on the air. The shrinkette practically forces the guy on the phone. A ridiculous way of referring to a female psychologist. It was on "60 Minutes." There were those cows in Michigan that got zapped by stray voltage and no one knows why. Maybe it was Wisconsin. "60 Minutes" is a famous TV news show. If a person gets "zapped," they are suddenly struck, perhaps by a bolt of actual electricity from a lightening storm. Michigan and Wisconsin are Midwestern states. Those parts where the daughter gives the mother the refrigerator with the big red bow on it. A "bow" is a knot formed by two or more curved pieces, often made of cloth or other material that is used for a decoration. The Polaroid ad….that kills me. In this case, a colloquial way of saying "that makes me laugh a lot." They’re a lot of desperate women out there looking for love. :: Especially over a certain age. In this context, "over a certain age" is a diplomatic way of referring to a woman who is older than about 35. It’s easier to be killed by a terrorist than to get married over the age of 40. This is a cynical (or cruel) way of telling a woman that it is extremely unlikely that an unmarried woman can find a husband after age 40. That statistic is not true. :: Calm down, you brought it up! "To bring up" a topic is to be the first to talk about it in a conversation. If someone is a widower, why do they say he was widowed? A "widower" is a man whose wife has died (while a "widow" is a woman whose husband has died). What’s with you?! Something is wrong. A common and colloquial way of asking a person what is wrong with them when they are acting strangely. Often said with great emotion? The guy could be a crackhead, a transvestite, a flasher, a junkie, a chainsaw murderer, or someone really sick, like my Rick. A "crackhead" is addicted to the horrible drug crack cocaine, a "transvestite" is a person who dresses in the clothes of the opposite sex and a "junkie" is a drug addict. A "chainsaw" is an electric tool that is used to cut down trees (and sometimes kill people!) Now, we’re getting down to it! Here, a slangy way of saying "Now we’re finding out the truth." I got to go to Boston for the AAB convention and then visit Winston Hughes about switching over our computers. A "convention" is usually a large meeting of professionals from many different places. "To switch over" to a new computer system is to change from an old system ßto that new one. Valentine’s Day. A day of celebration for people in love, and other romantic couples. We can registe...for dishes, glasses, silver... If a couple "register" before getting married, they give their friends the name of a store that has a list of things that they would like to receive as a wedding present. How about it?! A way of asking "What do you think?" or perhaps "Do you agree?" I’ll take you to Chinatown for Dim Sum. A popular type of Chinese food that is served at breakfast (It includes small portions of fresh breads, meats and vegetables). What did I used to say? Here’s looking at you. Here’s mud in your eye. Two well known lines from Hollywood movies that are used to express affection or good luck. The dispatcher? :: All of Seattle knows! In this case, a "dispatcher" is a person who tells police and firemen where to go after calls for help are made. It’s so nice when a man can express his feelings. Note that it is often thought that men, unlike women, are very bad at expressing their emotions, or what they are feeling inside. I was just tossing and turning last night...because I just realized that I was never going to fit my platters into the refrigerator we ordered. "To toss and turn" in bed is to move around a lot while sleeping. A "platter" is a large plate for serving food. We’ll have to redo all the cabinets. In this case, to "redo" something is to build it again. "Cabinets" are storage spaces, often found in kitchens for storing plates and glasses. That’s the bearing wall. A "bearing wall " is the most important wall in a structure such as a house, which is used to support the weight of the building. Well, this is fate. Another word for destiny, or the pre-determined course of one’s life. What do they call that when everything intersects? :: The Bermuda Triangle. If two lines "intersect," they cross each other. "The Bermuda Triangle" is a well known area in the Caribbean Sea where there have been many airplane crashes over the years. That’s for hiccups. A movement in the chest which stops breathing for a second. Annie becomes obsessed with Sam, and Sam learns a new about the world of romance and dating. What possessed you to give our address? A curious way of asking "Why did you...?" Dear ‘Sleepless in Seattle,’ you’re the most attractive man I’ve ever laid ears on. "To lay eyes on" a person is a poetic way of saying to see them, but "to lay ears on" is never used. Generally speaking, I think we should rule out anyone who doesn’t live near here. "To rule out" a possibility is to not even consider it. See what I mean? A common way of asking a person if they understand what you’re saying. In the movie, the women are always scratching up the man’s back and screaming and stuff when they’re having sex. Common filler words which have no particular meaning. Jessica’s got cable. A reference to cable television, which has lots of channels. Remember "Marooned in Miami"? To be "marooned" is to be stuck or stranded, usually on a beach. Why did you get married? Was it all trumpets and fireworks? A "trumpet" is a musical instrument, and "fireworks" are colorful light shows produced by small explosives. Together, they suggest lots of excitement and romance. Betty said we had to break up or get married. So, we got married. If a couple "break up," they separate and often no longer see each other. When you first met her, did you believe she was the only person for you, and in some mystical, cosmic way, it was fated? Both "mystical" and "cosmic" are powerful adjectives that refer to the nature or energy of the entire universe, or perhaps of a supernatural force. If something is "fated," it is certain to happen, perhaps because it was predetermined by a God or nature. When you’re attracted to someone, it just means your subconscious is attracted to their subconscious, subconsciously. A person’s "subconscious" is that part of their mind that is unaware of their own actions. An important word from modern psychology, though the line above is completely ridiculous. So what we think of fate is just two neuroses knowing they’re a perfect match. A person who has "neurosis" is mentally disturbed and often unable to function well in society because of nervousness. If a couple are "a perfect match," they seem made for each other and are happy together. I am having all these fantasies about some man I never even met. A "fantasy" is a desire in the form of a dream, often about sex. What I really don’t want to do is end up wondering what might have happened and knowing I could have done something. "To end up" doing something is to finish by doing that thing last. It’s just cold feet, isn’t it? Everyone panics before they get married. To get "cold feet" before doing something is to become extremely nervous about it. "To panic" is to become so nervous or agitated that you can’t control your own body or actions. I feel so much better having just blown this off. In this case, "to blow off" something is to decide to forget about it. She’s a weightlifter. It’s not like her neck is bigger than her head. A person who lifts metal weights in order to develop big muscles (Note the use of ‘like’ in the second sentence, which is a common filler word, and which helps to replace the much simpler sentence "Her neck is not bigger than her head"). I’m not asking you to set me up. "To set up" one person with another is to arrange for them to meet to see if they might become romantically involved with each other. It’s what women are looking for. Pecs and a cute butt. "Pecs" are a slang word for chest muscles. You can’t even turn on the news nowadays without hearing how some babe thought some guy’s butt was cute. A "babe" is a very colloquial way of referring to a pretty woman. See how it caught on. In this case, if something "catches on" with the public, it becomes very popular. I don’t know. :: Are we graded on a curve? If a group of students is "graded on a curve," each student’s test grade is based on how well they do compared to other students in the class (as opposed to a system where 90% correct is an A, 80% is a B, etc.) When was the last time you were out there? :: Jimmy Carter, 1978. This film takes place in the early 1990s, and Jimmy Carter was President from 1977 to 1981. You have to like each other. Then you neck. "To neck" is very old-fashioned verb that describes the act of kissing, touching and other sexual activities that couples do. Then you have tests. Then you get to do it with a condom. A reference to tests for AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. The good news is you split the check. "To split" a check at a restaurant is to share the cost of the meal. Tiramisu? Some women is going to want me to do it to her and I won’t know what it is. This is a delicious Italian desert made with cake and rum (and despite the line above, it is not a verb!). This is going to be much tougher than I thought. In this case, "tough" means hard or difficult. You call her up, you say "Come on, let’s get together, we’ll look at Swatches." A well known brand of watch. Color schemes. A way of referring to different colors and how they look together. She’s not going to see right through that? "To see through" something is to see the real truth behind the words or acts of somebody. You do it in your own suave way. Think Cary Grant. If a person is "suave," they act in a very elegant, seductive or refined way (Cary Grant was a very famous and suave actor). This is amazing; If you play it backwards, it says Paul is dead. A reference to a famous 1968 Beatles album in which it was believed there was a secret message saying that Paul McCartney had died. H.N.G. Jessica’s never used abbreviation for "hi and goodbye." I was wondering if you’d like to have a drink with me. This is the safest way to ask out a person who you would like to possibly become romantically involved with. Those were the days, when people knew how to be in love. A common and fond way of looking back at earlier times. You’re a basket case. An excellent slang expression that refers to anyone who is hopeless, pathetic, or simply acting in an incredibly stupid or pitiful way. He’s so unexpected. You’d think you could tell what he’s like just by looking at him, but you can’t. Note that "to tell" is often used as to see or to know. Your destiny can be your doom; Look at me and Rick. A person’s "destiny" is their fate or pre-determined future, and a person’s "doom" is their future destruction, disaster or death. I want to meet you on the top of the Empire State Building. The tallest building in New York City (Since September 11, 2001!) I’ll be in New York with Walter. I can squeeze it in. "To squeeze in" a meeting is to make enough time for it when there really isn’t much time to work with. I would never have bought the house with the dead tree, on account of which I got divorced. A complicated way of saying "which is the reason why..." "Never" is a frightening word. A good word for very scary. We’d be fools to let that happen, if this passes by. A "fool" is a very silly or stupid person. Men never get this movie. In this case, "to get" is to understand, or possibly appreciate. I never believed in the whole idea of an afterlife, but now I don’t know. The idea that a person’s soul continues to live after they physically die. She could peel an apple in one long girlie strip. "To peel" a fruit is to take its skin off. "Girlie" is a silly way of saying girl-like, and a "strip" is a long and narrow piece of something. Annie makes her first contacts with Sam, but it doesn’t work out as she had planned. I’m doing a piece on how people handle bereavement. An educated word for great sadness, often caused by a death in the family. "Beloved wife of lieu of flowers, contributions should be sent to the Chicago horticultural society." [Written] "Beloved" is a formal word for greatly loved. "In lieu of" means instead of, and a "horticultural society" is a group of people who work with plants and gardens. Arrested for grand larceny. [written] A legal word for the theft or stealing of something very valuable, such as a car. Current record holder for javelin toss. [written] A "record holder" has accomplished something no other person has in a field such as sports or business. The "javelin toss" is an Olympic sport in which a long pole is thrown through the air. AAA Detective Agency. A "detective" investigates crimes or other actions that people would prefer to keep secret. Background check, including photo needed. A "background check" is often a police investigation into a person’s past to make sure they have no criminal record. I’ll be back by midnight, or 8:30 if disaster strikes. A poetic way of saying if something horrible happens. Here’s the number of the pediatrician, right above the phone. A doctor who specializes in children. The heels on those shoes are grotesque; I look like I’m trying to be tall. The "heel" is the bottom part of a shoe or foot. If something is "grotesque," it is totally disgusting or revolting. A powerful adjective. And as long as I’m on the subject, let’s just say right now that Brooks Robinson was the best 3rd baseman ever. A defensive position in the game of baseball. It’s a sign. In this case, Annie’s way of saying evidence of a person’s destiny or fate. I’m out of here. A popular and slangy way of saying "I’m leaving." Is Claris there? Has she been strangled? "To strangle" a person is to kill them by choking them and cutting off their air supply so they can’t breath. If we book now, we could get an excursion fare. "To book" a plane is to reserve a seat on it, and an "excursion fare" is generally a cheap price for the ticket. She’s on her sixth painter and we’re never gonna finish this job. A colloquial way of saying "She has already used six painters..." Now she wants the fireplace rebricked. A "brick" is a common hard baked clay used for building, and thus to "rebrick" a structure is to rebuild it with new bricks. Whenever she wants anything done, she goes through this whole song and dance. To go through a "song and dance" is to desperately try to accomplish something, often by spending a lot of time explaining to someone why things need to be done in a certain way. Couldn’t we just flip the house around so everything on one side is now on the other? "To flip" something is to turn it completely around. And could the front of the house open with one big hinge, and then I could get in with the garage-door opener? A "hinge" is a metal part on which a door swings open and shut. My firm has box seats to the Mariners; Why don’t we go? "Box seats" are special seats in a stadium that are bought for the entire season of a sports team. The Mariner’s are Seattle’s baseball team. We don’t see a lot of potatoes around here; We’re rice men. Sam’s silly way of saying that he and Jonah love rice. Shouldn’t your father be the judge of whether someone is right or wrong for him? "To be the judge of" something is to decide whether or not it is right or wrong. My dad’s been captured by a hoe! What am I going to do?! A silly but popular slang word for a sexually promiscuous woman, or more specifically, a prostitute or whore. I thought I saw a black widow spider. A very dangerous spider with a well known marking on its stomach. Say "I believe there’s a poisonous insect in the house" and I will calmly come over and take care of it. An insect that is "poisonous" is very dangerous because it has a deadly type of chemical that it shoots into whatever it bites. It turned out the guy lives in Duluth. Duluth is a small town in Minnesota, not North Dakota! It doesn’t make sense at all; Thank God my life is in place. If a person’s life is "in place," it is well organized and going well. You have to write her. It’s Y.O.H. This is Jessica’s way of saying "your only hope." Never used! I thought I’d look into doing something on these radio shows. "To look into" something is to research or investigate it. We’re at our cruising altitude of about 35,000 feet. A plane’s "cruising altitude" is the height at which it travels from one place to another after taking off and before landing. Don’t you like flying? :: Yes, I do. Do you feel any lie is a betrayal? A "betrayal" is the act of hurting somebody by being unfaithful to them, after they have come