Let's just call June 'Tom Hanks' month' because we've hit yet another anniversary celebration of his film with the eternal rom-com, Sleepless in Seattle. Co-written and directed by the late Nora Ephron, the film cleverly refers to another romantic class, An Affair to Remember (1957), starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr and features the Empire State building in a supporting role. The film became one of the best romances of the 90s.
On Christmas Eve, young Jonah Baldwin (Ross Malinger) calls up a radio call-in show to ask for a new wife for his widower dad Sam (Tom Hanks) unbeknownst to him. Annie Reed (Meg Ryan) who lives on the other side of the country in Baltimore, happens to listen in and finds herself intrigued.
Impulsively and inspired by An Affair to Remember, she writes to Sam and Jonah telling them to meet her on top of the Empire State building on Valentine's Day. Amongst the hundreds who write to the Baldwins, Jonah feels a kinship towards Annie and feels this is the one for his dad. Sam, of course, doesn't know it yet and from thereon the film is delightful journey to the two lovers meeting atop, yes, the Empire State building.
The film is perennial favorite of mine and I usually watch it once a year at Christmas. The supporting cast is stellar and features director Rob Reiner, Victor Garber, Bill Pullman, Rosie O'Donnell and Hanks's real life wife,Rita Wilson. And even though Hanks and Ryan are only in the film for about two minutes, those two minutes are absolute magic and crackling with their chemistry. They only did three movies together (the hilarious Joe Versus the Volcano and the Sleepless in Seattle follow up by Ephron, Hanks, and Ryan in You've Got Mail) but it seems like much more because when they were together onscreen, you knew their characters were meant for each other. Even after 20 years, you can fall in love again with the characters and unforgettable dialogues. I know I will.
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