Director: Joseph Ruben
Cast: Julia Roberts, Patrick Bergin, Kevin Anderson
Released: February 8, 1991
Sleeping With the Enemy is similar to Double Jeopardy and Enough where a young woman is married to a guy who turns out to be a monster. This movie probably has more in common with Enough since Ashley Judd's husband never beat her in Double Jeopardy....he only cheated her and framed her for his "death". You know, "only"! Unlike in Enough, where we get the five minute "courtship" between J-Lo and her soon-to-be abusive husband before they get married, Laura (Julia Roberts) and Martin (Patrick Bergin) are already married and live in a HUGE house on Cape Cod. Also married to Martin is Julia Robert's hair which is a character all on its own. Seriously, her hair should have had second billing! Even though I had never seen this movie before, I knew of it and I knew what was going to happen so I figured she has such long hair because she's going to cut it...which she does, but it's still really long after she cuts it, but it is ridiculously long in the beginning. I don't know how she could stand it, especially living on the beach where the wind is whipping your hair every which way. That would drive me crazy!! And she only wears it braided in one scene. Anyway, why am I complaining about her hair style when I should be complaining about the man she decided to marry! Oh my God, this guy is a complete jackass! Yes, he beats her which is horrible, but even if he never laid a finger on her, I would still think he's a complete douche. He has this really weird OCD complex where EVERYTHING has to be just right. He makes a big show of "reminding" Laura that the three hand towels on the bathroom towel rack need to be in just the right order and placed just the right way. The cans and boxes of food in the kitchen pantry all need to be alphabetized and facing the front and stacked neatly. Everything has to be PERFECT at all times or else Laura will get a beating. And if Martin gets an inkling that Laura has been talking to the handsome doctor with the sailboat, then she will get a major beat down, only for him to "apologize" the next day with a bouquet of roses.
Now what would possess a woman to stay with a man like this or get married to him in the first place? Laura does explain this to the audience through a woman on the bus when she finally does make her escape. She says before they were married, Martin was very sweet and kind to her and this violent behavior didn't happen until after they were married. And I guess by that point it was too late to leave him because he pretty much had her under lock and key and never let her leave unless it was the three times a week when she was volunteering at the library. She does ask him if she can work there full time and he goes, "Do you not love your house? Why would you want to be working all the time?"
You're probably wondering how she made her escape if he was always watching her. Well, I'll tell you. They go sailing with the handsome doctor one night (which Martin seems okay with even though he (wrongly) thinks his wife is having an affair with him, but whatever). Laura never goes on boats because she has a fear of water because she almost drowned as a child. Uh...she sure is living in a bad place, then! But Martin thinks this will be good for her and help her overcome her fear. On the night they go sailing, a big storm hits and Martin and the doctor have to try to get the boat in order. This takes a few minutes and when Martin looks back to where his wife was sitting, she is GONE! He screams her name and shines a flashlight, trying to find her. But what he doesn't know is that instead of working at the library, Laura has been using that time to take swim lessons at the YMCA in order to plan her escape. Now I don't know how she knew the doctor would take them out on his boat. Supposedly there's a fan theory out there that says she and the doctor had planned this. The doctor is only in a couple scenes in the movie and we never see him and Laura interact. I know this movie is based on a book so maybe there's more to the story there. Or maybe it was just coincidental and this was the perfect opportunity for Laura to make her escape. She hides behind a buoy while Martin is shining his flashlight and the only thing he finds is her lifejacket.
There is a HILARIOUS scene when Martin gets back home and he shatters one of the glass windows of his massive home with a statue, steps outside and yells, "LAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" I was cracking up! It was so overdramatic. And he literally screams it like that too.
So Laura returns to the house in the middle of the night because she already had a stash of cash and a packed suitcase. I wasn't sure if Martin was in the house at the time because even though it's a huge house, it seems really dumb to return. I thought for sure he was going to wake up and she was just going to narrowly escape, but we never see him. She even takes off her wedding ring and flushes it down the toilet. I was screaming at my TV, "What are you doing?!?" First of all, if he's in the house, he's surely going to hear the toilet flush! Second of all, why not thrown the ring into the ocean...duh! I thought for sure this was how Martin finds out his wife is still alive. He will find the ring later, but it's not how he finds out. Luckily, Laura manages to escape without any problems and gets on a bus bound to Iowa where she settles into her new life. There, she rents a house and gets a job at the library. Oh and she also visits her mother in an assisted living residence even though she told Martin her mother was dead. I didn't really get that part.
Martin discovers his wife isn't really dead when he gets a call from her swim coach from the Y expressing her condolence and he's like, "What are you talking about? Laura never took swim lessons. She didn't know how to swim!" And the woman says, "Your wife was into gymnastics too, right? That's how she said she got all those bruises." Well, since Martin was always beating on her, he knew she had a lot of bruises and that indeed was his wife. And right after the scene he discovers the ring in the toilet. He then goes on a wild goose chase to try to track Laura down and this is when he discovers her mother is still alive.
Meanwhile, Laura has changed her name to Sarah and meets her next door neighbor, Ben (Kevin Anderson) who comes off as a little creepy when he accuses her of stealing the apples from his apple tree, but then says if she makes an apple pie she can bring it over tomorrow night when he makes pot roast. I thought it was a little too soon for Laura to go into a relationship (and so did Laura, but he was a little forceful), but I guess it was a good thing he was in her life as I'll get to that later. Laura is a little standoffish around him at first which makes TOTAL sense as she just got out of a horrible, abusive relationship, but then she starts to warm up around him. Ben is a drama teacher at a local college and takes her to auditorium one evening and there's a montage of her trying on different hats set to "Brown Eyed Girl" and "Runaround Sue". It is the strangest thing to have this cute little montage in the middle of a psychological thriller. It's like they had to have a Pretty Woman-esque montage since they had Julia Roberts and this was her first big role after the movie.
Ben gives Laura a disguise so she can visit her mother. He turns her into a man by giving her a fake mustache and a man's wig. However, her "man's voice" is the worst excuse I've ever heard. She didn't even try to attempt to deepen her voice. But she is able to visit her mother without any questions and tells her mother it's her. I should mention that her mother is blind. It was really funny when she's feeling her daughter's face and her fingers run over the fake mustache and she gets this really concerned look on her face and Laura has to explain she's in disguise. While she's visiting her mother, Martin is there at the exact same time and there are close moments when they almost run into each other, but they never do. At one point, Laura is using the water fountain and Martin is right behind her. The fountain isn't working right so Laura has to hit it a few times so when Martin goes to use it, it hits him right in the eye.
He has asked the receptionist to let him know if a young woman visits Chloe (Laura's mom) because he wants to "surprise" her and right after Laura leaves in her disguise, the receptionist tells him that a woman hasn't visited Chloe, but a young man just did and he goes tearing after her. Um, I'm pretty sure they're not allowed to divulge that information. I can't remember if this was before or after he almost smothered Chloe with a pillow when he was pretending to be a police officer and asking her questions, saying how her daughter was in trouble and he needed to know where Laura was. She tells him the info he needs and he almost kills her, but luckily the nurse comes in with her pills, so he's just acting like he's fluffing her pillow and puts it back behind her head.
So far by this point, the movie isn't too scary. The only time I felt any real suspense is when she went back to the house to get her clothes and money because I was for sure she was going to be found out. But the next scene when she goes home after Martin has discovered her freaked me out! They were using all the scare tactics in the world. I kept going, "OMG! OMG! OMG!" First of all, she goes to take a bath and she notices that all her hand towels are perfectly lined up. We had seen a scene earlier in her new house where she at first makes her hand towels look neat, then she purposely messes them up as well as just throw her cans of food into her pantry. So had she hung up her hand towels neatly out of habit....or was there somebody in her house?? We then get a lot of fake out jump scenes where she sees her closet door is open and she creeps over to check it out, but right before she does the fire alarm goes off because she forgot about her toast...dumbass! She then checks her pantry....it is the scariest scene involving a pantry I have ever seen! She opens it up....and it's all messed up just like she initially had it. Whew! But later....she opens the pantry again and it's ALL ORGANIZED!!! Plus her kitchen hand towels are orderly too. I was for sure Martin was going to sneak up on her, but she just turns around and he's there, but it wasn't a scare jump. He has a gun and is about to use it when there's a knock at the door. Remember when I said it was a good thing Ben was in her life? Well, at this moment he pretty much saved her life. Martin tells Laura to make him go away and hides behind the door with the gun pointed at her while Laura opens the door with the chain still attached and says it's not a good time for him to come over. It is SOOOOO obvious that she's in danger and I thought for sure he was going to call the police, but instead after the door closes, he breaks it down and attacks Martin who proceeds to knock him out and is going to shoot him, but Laura manages to get the gun away from him. There's a struggle, but Laura ends up with the gun and is pointing it at him and calls the police telling them she just shot an intruder, then shoots her husband AT LEAST three times and then falls into a heap beside his body, dropping the gun right by him. But guess what? He's not dead yet! He has just enough life left in him for him to grab the gun and point it at her and shoot her. Luckily she used all the bullets and there was none left. Everyone knows that after you kill (or "kill" a bad guy), you never put your weapon by them! Cuz chances are they're not quite dead yet! But then he finally dies. And she can finally live her life with Ben. Let's hope he's not a psycho!