Sleepless in Seattle, a movie directed by Nora Ephron, is considered a 1993 romantic hit that discusses creatively the valuable changes brought about by fortune, particularly in romance, as highlighted in the movie. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, two of Hollywood’s most celebrated names on screen, took part on roles of Sam Baldwin and Annie Reed, respectively. Sam Baldwin is a mannered architect with an exultant marriage to Maggie. Sam, having had his wife deceased as attributed to cancer, has been living in Chicago as a single parent for almost a year and a half with his son Jonah ( as Ross Malinger). Given such recollecting memory of a departed partner and a lot more upsetting memoirs to hark back to in Chicago, Sam and Jonah decided to move in Seattle in pursuit of leaving behind the familiarity of an opportune life and thereby moving on. Vicissitude unfolds.
It is there then that Jonah, eight years of age, felt the upsurge of emptiness and yearning that grieves his father still into total tension. Jonah, to his resolved belief that the affliction of such circumstance will only be alleviated or better yet be decimated through a voiced downpour of emotional ordeal, phoned a network radio hosted by a certain psychologist in the name of ‘Doctor Marcia Fieldstone’. Via this set-up, Sam, being at first reluctant and averse to such attempt, eventually found himself thrashing out all worries and encumbrances and pouring out all contents his heart so hides and which he, for so long, has been wrestling on by himself. Women listening to the radio program and consequently have heard Sam were stirred thus inundating Sam with several proposals from several interested women across America. Fortunately, through the radio medium that Sam had come to embrace, a woman of identity Annie Reed hears the approximate confessions and was likewise instantaneously moved as the other listeners.
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Annie, a Baltimore Sun reporter, however, lives on the other side of the continent in Baltimore and currently was already engaged with an allergy-prone working man, Walter ( roled by Bill Pullman) who apparently was portrayed content. Despite the obvious and grave severing happenstance between Sam and Annie’s lives, Annie still felt the blaze of fate charging upon her to come and see Sam in Seattle. This insightful conviction marked out a risk on her engagement with Walter but without further doubts, Annie nonetheless persisted on to look for Sam.
The content of the movie is universally approached to deeming what destiny has in store for each and every one of us. The optimization of its substance lifts up the very core of hope left within every aspiring individual. It conveys to its viewers the fact that reality is accompanied by faith, by that irrepressible course of destiny, and to which our personal choices contribute to the fortuity of all forthcoming events relative to the ones we have embarked our choices on. This time, it is all about a battle between one’s heart and/or one’s mind. This is all about chances.
Our self-made choices.
Sam Baldwin’s character portrays significant societal predispositions and repercussions substantial since then and even up to the present time. Sam is depicted and seen as a man in battle amidst his emotional hurdles. In the social context of the society of the time and of the present, men have established an identity exposing only one’s capacity and strength. Men were reputed with respect to such manliness. An emotional unrest similar to Sam’s is formidably considered negligible as weighed against a man’s socially evaluated masculinity. This
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perspective, however, proves to be at disparity with what Sam is going through at the moment. He could not just let his emotions consume the whole of what is seemingly left of him, for he has
to manifest and exude a strong suit all for the sake of his son. It is during this course of tough times that Jonah must see that despite the mishap brought about by the death of his mother, his father could still manage to marshal their life, and thereby being able to hone himself into a real man. Man enough to face challenges further in future. Sam, still however, dealt with this susceptible condition besetting him by saying to himself that he will get out of bed, and breathe in and out all day long. Once accustomed to such routine, he will after a while no longer need to remind himself up to get out of bed and breath in and out. Sam surrendered no hope in spite of the loss of his wife, “ who made everything beautiful like..magic”. His sanguine vision and outlook in life is further augmented by Jay, Sam’s pal who directed him of all dating twists. This comradeship Ephron had brought into action signifies how men in general, or Sam in particular, deal with the tribulations beleaguering them. Furthermore, regardless of the fact that he considerately needs to take care of his son Jonah, Sam approached the situation without parental contempt. He pursued his fatherhood towards Jonah to the point that he engages himself to dating various women ( whom he apparently believe to be in no competence in replacing his beloved wife ). This dating conjured up by Jay , seeks to find not just the next woman for Sam’s monotonous living but simply for the best intention of finding Jonah a mother to live up with.
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The movie, as previously stated, is somehow also a vivid discussion and portrayal of certain distresses that onset every individual once in a while. In this movie, for an instance, the common distress stumbled upon by the protagonist Sam Baldwin, is his grief. And just as everyone contends to surpass a certain height of difficulty in life, so does the character of Tom Hank’s. His clear support network, in this case, or his safe place to call amidst the cruelty of life alone, can be opine as, first, his avowed worldwide radio assertion ,secondly his normal functioning as a man without prior need for solace; that kind of solace sought and necessitated by women when faced with a parallel adversity, and third, the social environment to which he (Sam) was a newly designated member. The radio profession aired by Sam can be considered among his support network since it is there where he found an outlet to disclose his grief. Desolation as a consequence of losing someone which is at par with one’s life, is highly inevitable. Loss itself is inevitable, and by nature mostly experienced by nearly everyone. Granting such incidence in Sam’s married life, it is a relief for anyone undergoing the same circumstance to have a talk with someone who have had the same crisis; a connection per se. During those moments that Sam is ostensibly detached from the material world as a variable result of losing his wife, it was through the radio airing that he found the lost connection reestablished. First, he was able to work out his mourning, the pain, the despondency and the anguish within him via sentiments. Subsequently, people, women in particular, act in response to him, unsupplied with judgment or adverse criticism for the main reason that he is such among the race of man unworthy of sentimental and emotional manifestations of grievances. Evidently, Sam sensed a feeling of solace from the thousands of women who attended to his emotion. It somewhat is a launch of another fateful connection to the world he seemed to have departed along with his wife. In addition, Sam’s normal functioning as a father to Jonah and as a widowed man, after all contributes to a fortified
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support network to his temperament. As a widowed man, Sam still considers dating. It gives him that plaintiff of optimism, that somehow, somewhere along the sequence of such occasional dates, there will be that potential candidate for a partner, but not an absolute replacement for Maggie. The fat chance of finding one, though, is a bonanza for not only he will benefit, but Jonah as well. Sam will fulfill his fatherhood once more and he will have a new-found partner, while Jonah will come to the comfort of having a second mother around. Finally, the social context of Seattle is a factor relative to Sam’s support network. The new environment he belongs into accordingly unfastens him to a familiar and time-honored place bounty of memories of her late spouse. As the milieu of Chicago constantly reminds and attaches him with lifelessness, through this, he will be able to set up a new living, a new modification to get on and build a new fortress of life both for him and his son, Jonah. A fine-tuning like this integrates a support network effective for consolidation since he is no longer entitled to interact with people and divulge all signs of weaknesses he is encumbering. Such condition would simply just and vulnerably expose his soft side and might therefore instigate people’s discriminatory forethoughts. Via the advantage of the environmental sophistication of Seattle along with the diversity of personalities living therein , Sam can finally work through a different approach to eventually get by and by his heartaches and woes as a widow. At the same time, his heart is not centrally focused on his current misery , rather the society renders him an unpremeditated service for a gradual emotional recuperation. Evidently, the setting of this chapter of his life ameliorates the burdens he has.
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Considering the society’s view of loss through divorce and loss through death, a man undergoing this similar event in Sam Baldwin’s life, according to bereavement experts, usually comes to the other side and admits unto himself that she ( the departed partner ) is not coming back. Divorce on the other side, magnifies aspects of loss than that of bereavement. The absolute reality of death is far better acceptable and less painful as compared with the harsh reality of a divorce. Simply put, divorce is considerably a big blow to a man’s self-worth than having abandonment out of an inexorable death. Furthermore, the loss through either death or divorce, nevertheless, overlaps into the multitude facet of grief. Grief comes next to a loss by death. Grief consumes as well a man living without the company of the opposite sex. Grief is a shameful secret every man tries so hard to deny and to conceal. But to mull over the polarities and overlaps of loss through death or divorce, the social norms must be set into account. The contemporary culture regards divorce negatively due to the apparent individualism of both species in a relation , thus leading into greater obscurity in finding satisfaction to sustain the relationship. Moreover, divorce as a medium of separation comes before the formality of death, thus socially deliberating on it immorally. It is further a lame excuse and an obvious submission to infirmity. Divorce is a strong sign of weakness to overcome certain distresses, unlike loss through death, which on the other hand is a natural and plainly acceptable human nature. Death would merely execute indications of emotional turmoil, it will manifest a more dejecting physical emotion such as crying, sleeplessness etc. but it ruins nothing of the sort as marriage. Loss through death is potential to all living creature. Loss through divorce, conversely, is a decadent choice. It is not the potential solution over matters. To grieve over a divorce may be natural, but to grieve over a death is supernatural.
Berardinelli, J. (1993). Sleepless in Seattle (Publication. Retrieved 25 July 2007: http://www.reelviews.net/movies/s/sleepless.html
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Hicks, C. (1993). Sleepless in Seattle (Publication. Retrieved 25 July 2007, from Deseret News Publishing Co. : http://deseretnews.com/movies/view/1,1257,1678,00.html
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Wymard, E. (1994). “Men on Divorce – Conversations With Ex-Husbands” (Publication.: http://www.innerself.com/Relationships/men__divorce.htm