MOVIE REVIEW: "Sleeping with the Enemy" (1991)

in movies •  8 months ago  (edited)

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Synopsis: Sara and Martin seem to have the perfect marriage, but she regularly picks up from her husband. To escape the violence, Sara simulates her own death and runs away, restarting her life with another identity, until Martin suspects she is alive.

Physical violence against women is a matter of the utmost importance, but it has never been so debated as it is today. Fortunately, this reality is changing and within the cinematic universe, it is a theme that has been approached several times. Especially in this production - even after it was made 21 years ago - this movie remains increasingly relevant, current and totally connected with this sad reality, which in the midst of all its negative prospects is always ominous.


Male "sovereignty" over females is a timeless problem and one that over time has found ways to renew itself to stay on top of command. In their most diverse forms of abuse, men try and impose themselves as the dominant race and put women in the background as luxury accessories that they can consume and display whenever they desire. Tired of this reality, some women take courageous actions and this is the great motivation for this movie to happen.

Under the umbrella of such a broad subject in its painful roots (often traumatize victims in profound ways), the movie builds itself in a great pace because it has a two-way main roadmaps: addressing domestic violence at home as an immediate urgency and showing how a humiliated and resentful woman can muster the strength to fight and break free from such a dangerous and unhappy world that she never dreamed of having to live.

Nightmares on Film Street

Initially, the character played by Julia Roberts (who actually performs very well... although she is below her usual quality standard) is surrounded by insecurity and can see no alternative but to endure the abuse of her husband hoping that he changes someday. Once the situation has gotten out of hand and she realizes that this change will never happen, she fills herself with courage and plans to survive and start her life elsewhere, far away.

In the other main line of the script is the character so efficiently and psychologically experienced by Patrick Bergin, who is becoming increasingly obsessive and domineering when it comes to exerting his power over his wife. Together, Roberts and Bergin personify characters who act like water and oil in their essences, but are linked by an opposing force of attraction that establishes all the suspense within the story. It's a strangely good chemistry to watch.


The sequence of the facts as they happen is very thought-provoking, very well drawn by a script that, even if unable to always maintain itself with a high quality, is detailed in its writing and puts the viewer within the drama experienced by the protagonist, offering them the bitter - but necessary - experience of being able to accompany a turbulent journey that, above all, talks about overcoming and the search for real identity.

Although the script fails to impose itself with so many stressful situations (especially after its half, which becomes a bit boring and without much deepening), it still manages to stay on the main radar of its most visible subject, demonstrating that this means a Assertive consistency in the final balance ... That is, despite some very weak points, the movie remains strong in its message to the public.

Joseph Ruben directs the film in a median manner and with a rhythm that alternates between the excitement of showing the reality of the facts and a slowdown in narrative construction as the film moves toward its climax (which should be something grander, and not at all) . But his work is aided by technical elements (such as good photography and the important soundtrack) that help dispel his less creative points throughout the movie's development.

Ferdy on Films

Although it has an oscillating dynamics and a not very diffuse didactics among all its characters, Sleeping with the Enemy is an efficient and very energetic movie about abusive relationship that carries with it a weight that needs to be increasingly known, shared and discussed until it is seen as something truly abominable and no longer tolerable to society (without exception).

MOVIE URL: Sleeping with the Enemy

MY RATING: AA (8,0/10)

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