The Sleeping Dictionary

2003

Drama / Romance

0
IMDb Rating 6.6 10 7985

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN

Director

Cast

Jessica Alba as Selima
Hugh Dancy as John Truscott
Emily Mortimer as Cecil
Bob Hoskins as Henry

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Jimmy_fingers 7 / 10

love-across-the-tracks, remixed......

Liked this film a lot. A rework of the classic Romeo and Juliet impossible-love scenario, it managed to stand out from the crowd, not least because of the impressive cinematography (helped in no small part by the wonderful locales and the beautiful tribes people (The Iban). While never being earth-shattering, for a film to watch with a loved one (without being too girly) this is hard to top IMO. It shows the moral struggle of a man who has to choose between 'duty' and love. The arrogance and conditioning of British colonialism is dealt with well, as we struggled to impose our European values and God on peoples in far flung corners, and indeed it shows the irony that we struggled to retain it ourselves as the beauty of the place and people intoxicated our men (a few cads apart)

Watch it with wifey/girlfriend/prospective mate

Reviewed by claudio_carvalho 10 / 10

Wonderful Romance – Better and Better than Webster's and American Heritage Dictionaries

In 1936, the expatriated young and naive just-graduated British John Truscott (Hugh Dancy) arrives to the Sarawak, a British colony, to work in the Iban society. The beautiful Selima (Jessica Alba) is assigned to be his "sleeping dictionary", to live and sleep with him and teach him the language and habits of the locals. The reluctant John and Selima fall in love for each other in a forbidden romance.

What a magnificent surprise "The Sleeping Dictionary" was for me, indeed a wonderful romance, with action and drama and an adorable story of difference of cultures, seduction and secrets. Jessica Alba and Hugh Dancy have stunning performances, showing a delightful chemistry. Brenda Blethyn and Bob Hoskins are excellent, as usual, and Noah Taylor, as the nasty Neville, Emily Mortimer, as the sweet Cecil and Eugene Salleh, as Belansai, are also fantastic. Certainly, Jessica Alba is better and better than Webster's and American Heritage Dictionaries. Definitely, "The Sleeping Dictionary" is a must-see movie for any sensitive audience. My vote is ten.

Title (Brazil): "Dicionário de Cama" ("Dictionary of Bed")

Reviewed by brutesentiment 7 / 10

Not quite enough to be enough

The Sleeping Dictionary should be noted mostly for being the biggest missed opportunity of shooting star Jessica Alba. This film was her only film project between the first and second seasons of "Dark Angel,' the show that turned her into a sensation, but quickly died a network death at the end of season 2, and thus ending the heat index on the lovely Miss Alba. The tragedy is this film, a good showcase of her and her abilities (rather than just her), was inexplicably delayed, pushed off and kept from theater screens, only to be released direct-to video far too long after her star dimmed.

As with any product here, you can get the synopsis elsewhere, so don't look for it here. I'll try not to spoil anything, but take note if you read this, then watch the movie, you may get tipped off as to what I'm vaguely referencing. If that bothers you, come back after you watch!

This is a film that had a good idea, and good execution of what the idea turned into. Unfortunately, a little bit more planning would have helped. At 109 minutes, this film won't bore you, but it could have been rightfully intriguing with 20-30 minutes of good plot added.

The film is carried on the sound filmmaking and charm of it's actors. In particular, Alba is enchanting. She plays the part with the seriousness it was intended, and never lets her intentionally accented English fall into 'stupid foreigner' stereotype, a tough job for many young actors and actresses who have attempted the same. Her partner, Hugh Dancy, is good enough. He channels a little bit like a scrawny Heath Ledger, but never quite gets rugged enough.

The other joy of the cast is the ever-underrated Bob Hoskins. By coincidence, I saw 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' just hours before watching 'Sleeping Dictionary,' and am never let down by his appearances in films. He plays a character who isn't written subtly enough; still, he acts it. The endless looks of "Damn bloody fool. Good for him, the w***er" scattered through the film isn't enough for a man of his caliber, but we'll take what we can get.

Their performances are weaved together well by Writer/Director Guy Jenkin, who is making his big screen debut as a director, though his writing career goes back to the late '70's without much acclaim. Directing-wise, he knows what he is doing. The camera work is graceful and beautiful, and he compliments the fantastic elements of the story well. As a writer, well, there are things left to be desired.

Most of all, this film seems too short. The story is predictable, but it never drags. The love scenes are contrived, as is the underdeveloped climax, but that's not where the film is weak. The characters are cleverly set up to be mirrors, and the overlapping triangles are so complex they rival those brainteasers that ask 'how many triangles are in this picture?' The problem is, the most important one is never realized, because of the lack of development between Dancy and his best friend within the tribe. Without much difficulty, and a little more time, that relationship alone would have lifted this film from not quite enough to a good, if not better, movie.

As a result, you're left with a film that doesn't challenge anything because it just challenges the same old things. But it is romantic, and has much more spark than many other movies you may see of this type. For that, and a young actress who has way too much fire to just disappear at this point of her career, this film is worth seeing.

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