While You Were Sleeping
Director: Jon Turtletaub
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman, Peter Gallager, Peter Boyle
Released: April 21, 1995
I must say I'm surprised this movie came out in April since it's set during Christmas. The movie is saturated in its Christmas-ness. In fact, I had totally forgotten that little fact or else I would have reviewed this around the holiday season as I always feel weird watching a Christmas movie in a month other than November or December. It just seems so unnatural!
This movie is about a woman named Lucy (Sandra Bullock) who works as a ticket taker at a subway station in Chicago and she is totally smitten with a man (Peter Gallager) she sees everyday who comes through the line to get a token. Besides the occasional, "hi", Lucy has never spoken to him. On Christmas Day he buys a token and says, "Merry Christmas" and after stumbling for something to say he walks off and she chastises herself for not thinking of something intelligent (or at least incoherent) to say. After she sees he has fallen into the tracks after two guys have tried to rob him (though they don't take anything; I never did understand what exactly was going on), she runs to help him up, but he's knocked out so she has to roll him away from the oncoming subway. She takes him to the hospital and there's a HUGE misunderstanding because a nurse hears Lucy mutter under her breath, "That's the man I'm going to marry someday" while looking longingly at the man in a coma. His name is Peter and his family has come to see him when they get the news. The nurse tells them that Lucy is his fiancee and she is just as surprised as they are. Later, she asks the nurse why she told them she was the fiancee and the nurse tells her what she overheard her say to herself. While his family (his parents (his father is played by Peter Boyle), his sister (she's played by the girl who would later go on to play Abby Morgan in Dawson's Creek), his grandmother, and his godfather) are all shocked about this and wonder why Peter never told them he was engaged. Lucy does try to tell them this is all a big misunderstanding, but she is not assertive enough and they aren't even paying to attention to her. I feel like if you were put in this situation, you would need to squash it like a bug ASAP! But she lets it go on far longer than it should have.
The family hails her as a hero after they learn that she saved Peter's life when she jumped in the track and moved him away from the approaching subway. Even though she does want to tell them the truth, she finds out Peter's grandmother has a heart condition and it would (literally, apparently) kill her if this wonderful girl she just met wasn't actually her grandson's soon-to-be bride. So as you can see, Lucy is in a bit of a pickle. They invite her to spend Christmas with them (since they missed celebrating on the actual day what with all the commotion of having Peter in the hospital), but she politely declines and they give her their address just in case she changes her mind. After trying to eat a TV dinner alone (and dipping her Oreos in her cat's milk...while a very amusing scene, it's so stupid because every cat owner knows you give your cat WATER to drink, not freaking milk!) she decides to give in and join them for their Christmas celebration so she doesn't feel as pathetic as she thinks she is. She finds herself really liking this family and they have already accepted her as one of their own, even giving her a Christmas gift.
This is when she meets Jack (Bill Pullman), Peter's younger brother. He is very suspicious of this woman who is suppose to be Peter's new fiancee because not too long ago Peter had a girlfriend, Ashely who he asked to marry, but she declined. However, she must have changed her mind because Peter keeps getting voice mail messages from her saying she has decided to marry him after all. She doesn't know he's in a coma and keeps wondering why he won't return her calls.
The only person who knows the truth about Lucy is Saul, Peter's godfather. He overheard her talking to Peter about the situation she was in. He tells her he will not snitch her out because he feels the family meeting Lucy has brought them closer together. As you can imagine, Lucy and Jack spend a lot of time together and begin to have feelings for each other. Lucy can't act on these feelings as she's supposed to be his brother's fiancee. Somehow she is able to keep the charade up. After a few weeks, Peter finally wakes up and his family calls Lucy so she can see him. Needless to say she is very hesitant about this, but what other choice does she have than to not go? There's a very funny scene when the camera is panning from face to face so we're seeing all of Peter's loved ones through his eyes. He sees his father, mother, sister, godfather, some woman he doesn't know, his grandmother. And right when the camera pans over to his grandmother, it quickly pans back to Lucy. His family thinks he must have suffered from amnesia since he can't remember his fiancee at all. Saul even convinces Peter he should propose to her "again" because he'll never meet a woman like her again. I found this very weird because why would you want to marry someone you don't even know? Lucy wants Saul to tell the family the truth since she thinks it will be a softer blow coming from him. However, every time she thinks he's going to do it, he chickens out.
Peter becomes convinced that he must have been engaged to this beautiful, charming woman so he trusts his godfather and proposes to her. I think Saul only told him to do that because he didn't want to tell the family the truth about Lucy. Of course, Ashely comes back to town and is livid when she finds out that Peter has new fiancee. Right before the wedding, Lucy confesses to everyone that she was never Peter's fiancee and tells them how they really met. However, she does say that she's in love with Jack so she does get to stay part of the family since Jack soon proposes to her.
Fittingly, the movie ends with Peter asking Lucy when she fell in love with his brother and she replies, "While you were sleeping."
I read that initially the gender roles were swapped where it was going to be the woman in a coma and the guy pretending to be her fiance, but that was thought to be too predatory (which, yeah, I can see) so they switched the roles.