#WayBackWednesday – While You Were Sleeping (1995)

We’re all stuck in the house, right? There’s never been a better time to dig into those retro movies that you’ve always wanted to watch, but never had the time for. Personally, I’m a bit of a retrophile and tend to watch more older flicks than newer ones. On Fangirlish, you can now look forward to a retro review from me each Wednesday in this column. I’ll be highlighting one throwback movie a week, offering a spoiler-free review of the film, any throwback thoughts from my childhood, and where you can watch the movie yourself. Sit back, relax, and enjoy #WayBackWednesday.

I haven’t seen a lot of rom-coms. In fact, in my circle of girl friends, we now have a monthly tradition of “Girl Movie Night” predicated on this fact. I’ve now seen more rom-coms in the past 3 years than I’ve seen in my entire life because my friends are persistent in fulfilling this gap in my movie viewing.

Today’s choice for #WayBackWednesday was one that was in the running for our most recent Girl Movie Night–While You Were Sleeping. Check out the trailer for While You Were Sleeping and let’s get started. 

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I’ve always heard good things about While You Were Sleeping. I also adore everything I’ve ever seen Sandra Bullock in, so I don’t know why I’ve not watched much of her catalog or watched this classic of 90s rom-coms before reviewing it for this column. While You Were Sleeping tells the story of a hopeless romantic, Lucy (Sandra Bullock), falling for the handsome stranger she sees passing through her booth at the station every day (Peter Gallagher).

When her handsome stranger falls onto the tracks, falling unconscious and into the path of an oncoming train, Lucy jumps into action, rolling him away just in time. At the hospital, Lucy is mistaken for his fiancée, thus setting up Shakespearean levels of mistaken identity and miscommunication. The situation is thrown into even further disarray when his brother, Jack (Bill Pullman), shows up, dazzling Lucy and further complicating matters. 

While You Were Sleeping throws nearly every single fan fiction trope onto the big screen with reckless abandon–fake fiancée, mistaken identity, coma, amnesia, falling in love with the brother–I could go on. And yet, it works. These tropes are executed flawlessly and in such a way that even if you find such tropes annoying, While You Were Sleeping comes off charming and sweet. Sandra Bullock is fantastic at playing the sweet and sincere girl-next-door who finds herself in over her head. Bill Pullman is charming, perfectly playing the protective brother who knows more than he lets on. 

Another aspect of the film’s charm is the score by Randy Edelman. Edelman uses piano and strings to create gentle background music for softer scenes and lively coffee shop-style piano jazz for humorous moments. It’s a score that’s easy on the ears and the perfect background music for this film.

Edelman has scored numerous films and television series, largely in the science fiction and action genres. Everything from the 80s pop score of the Alvin and the Chipmunks cartoon series to MacGyver and even Gods and Generals. The man has range. 

We could all use a little bit of levity right now. If you’re looking for a light-hearted comedy, filled with mistaken identity and misadventure, look no further than While You Were Sleeping. It definitely made me laugh and put a smile on my face. I hope it does the same for you. 

While You Were Sleeping is currently available on Disney+.

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