Sleepless In Seattle is a : wonderfully warm- i hearted comedy, an immediate classic of the genre that i embraces old- ; fashioned movie i convenfions l without becoming ' corny or dated.


Above: With Bill Pullman in Sleepless in Seattle. Below: “perfectly cute girl-next-door’ in When llarry Met Sally.


‘Do you come here often?’: the prelude to that restaurant scene.

‘WllEll WE lllll When llarry Met Sally, Billy Crystal and Meg llyan weren’t really well known, so I thought that if we were doing another romantic comedy with Meg and Tom flanks now, we had a shot,’ says co-writer and director llora Ephron of the S100 million-plus runaway success of Sleepless In Seattle. ‘I never thought that we were a true sleeper in any sense. Although we had two movie stars and cost $25 million, we looked so modest and simple next to all these dinosaurs and shoot-’em-up things that opened opposite us. The fantasy in this movie is not that you can fall in love with someone that you don’t know, but that there’s one true person for you out there in the world. That’s something that you believe so strongly when you’re growing up that, even when you get older and more cynical, you still want to believe it, and it takes very little to re-trigger that belief.’

Ephron has twice been Oscar- nominated tor her screenplays (When liarry Met Sally and Silkwood, co- written with Alice Arlen), and she’s certainly in with a shot of becoming the second woman in history to be nominated for the Director’s award. Her debut behind the camera, This is My life, went under last year causing barely a ripple, but she has previously received acclaim for her novel Heartburn (which she also adapted for the big screen) and the collections Crazy Salad and Scribble, Scribble.

‘I love working in film, I love that we made this movie and that so tar almost 20 million people have seen it,’ she says, basking a little in well- deserved glory. ‘You can’t ever hope


for that with a novel - I guess John Brisham can hope for that, but I can’t. The videotape has come along and made film have an on-going role in everybody’s life in a way that it didn’t have twenty years ago when it was a more dominant art form. I’m never going to write a novel that’s as good as Bleak House, so I’m not going to put myselt in that category. (Irvlonsly the great novels will last, but what about just the “cute” novels, inst the “all right” ones, the one that’s the best you read in the last month? I would be perfectly content to be in that category, and in that category it’s great to work in film.’

ller modesty hides the assurance that she brings to Sleepless In Seattle. This time, when the opening titles say ‘A llora Ephron Film’, we know exactly what to expect: her hand not only guides the actors, the narrative, the pacing, but also the dialogue and the choice of music - a collection of old romantic standards in less familiar versions, and one of the means by which the characters of Annie and Sam are drawn together. That all-too-rare combination of box office bucks and critical acclaim should ensure that she'll be in demand for some time to come.

‘In the kind of movie I do, I won’t have any trouble getting work for a while,’ she agrees, imposing her own limitations. ‘I’ll probably have to fall on my face several times before I become someone that can’t get hired. There’s no question that when you make this kind of money, you gain a lot of weight metaphorically. But I ; still don't think I’ll ever be the first 5 choice for an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie . . . Cl

The List 24 September—7 October 1993 9'