Countdown To Christmas | ‘While You Were Sleeping’

Melissa continues our “Countdown to Christmas” season with the feel-good romantic comedy you didn’t know you needed!

I know what your thinking, isn’t While You Were Sleeping a romantic comedy? Why yes, it is. But it’s also a Christmas movie as it takes place between Christmas and the beginning of the New Year. This hidden gem is one of my all-time favorite romantic comedies and movies. I watch it throughout the year and it never fails to make me laugh and put a smile on my face no matter how many times I’ve seen it. And during these crazy times, that’s exactly what we need.

For those that are unfamiliar with it, the story follows the very single Lucy played by Sandra Bullock, who has a major crush on the handsome lawyer, Peter (played by Peter Gallagher) that comes through her line at the L every day. On Christmas, he finally says “Hello” to her and she’s shocked into speechlessness. But while she struggles to find a response, she sees him mugged and pushed onto the tracks. Lucy jumps on the tracks after him, saving him from being run over by the incoming train. At the hospital, she comments to herself in a daydream that she was going to “marry that guy”, triggering a series of hilarious misunderstandings which lead her to fall in love with Peter’s brother, Jack (Bill Pullman in all his ’90s glory), and find the family she’s always longed for.

The leading misunderstanding is of course that Peter, who’s now in a coma, is her fiancee. After seeing the family’s reaction to her, Lucy becomes afraid to tell them the truth. Then, after Peter’s Jewish Godfather overhears Lucy’s coma bed confession, he convinces her to continue to play the role to make the family happy as meeting her brought them closer together. This in turn leads to numerous other misunderstandings.

These Mashed Potatoes Are Very Creamy

How could a story where a woman pretends to be the fiancee of a guy in a coma possibly be funny, you ask? Well, I think it’s all the hilarious characters and interactions. From Peter and Jack’s oddball grandma, Elsie, who utters things like “I liked Mass better in Latin. It was more fun when you didn’t understand what they were saying.”; the younger sister that blurts “He everybody, Lucy’s pregnant” without checking her facts causing more misunderstandings; to the uncouth son of Lucy’s landlord that is always trying to get Lucy to notice him.

Then there’s the hilarious Christmas dinner with multiple conversations all going on at once. While Jack and his sister discuss what his “type” is and he avoids saying Lucy, grandma, dad, and the godfather are at the other end of the table discussing Cuban and tall actors, but not actors who are both tall and Cuban (“I didn’t say he was Cuban.” “Then what did you say?” “I said he was tall.”) At which point the mom shovels mashed potatoes into her mouth saying “These mashed potatoes are very creamy”. If no one utters that phrase while at least one other conversation is going on at your family Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner, are you even having Christmas dinner? (The answer is no, you’re not)

Then there’s the “leaning” incident, the “It’s not good for the baby” scene at New Year’s, and Lucy and Peter’s hospital wedding where both Lucy and Jack object followed by Peter’s real fiancee and her husband. And I have to say, the priest’s reaction is priceless. There’s also a slew of great one-liners, especially from Elsie.

I fell in love with all of you

It may seem like a ridiculous plot, but it oddly works. Lucy finds love and acceptance with the family she never had, who in the end, can’t fault her for lying when she tearfully admits she did it out of love for all of them. They even all go along with Jack when he shows up at her token booth to propose accepting her into their family together. At the same time, Lucy gives Jack the courage to tell his father he wants out of the family business to make handcrafted furniture.

The simple act of meeting Lucy brings them all together for the holidays and forces them to reconnect. So while it takes place at Christmas, it’s more about love and family than anything. Which is why it’s one of my feel-good movies year-round when I need a boost.

 

Which festive flick gets you in the mood for Christmas? Leave a comment below.

 

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Melissa Villy is a regular Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. She is a passionate Star Wars fan and is the custodian of the FOTF Jedi Archives. Follow her on Twitter @JediLibrarian42 where she uses the force frequently!

 

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