Sleepless in Seattle vs. Pretty Woman



There are very few match-ups for me that are both tough and actually make me want to weigh in. In fact, this is only my second one, and I have been a user since October 2007. So shame on me. As I type this from our hotel room in Boston, I still have not decided which I will choose. Each of these is a sort of unexpected love story, and there is an innocence to each. The very fact that I can say that about "Pretty Woman" at all makes me give it an extra nod of respect. Both of these films also have a fairy tale aspect, "Pretty Woman" with its comparison to Cinderella and Meg Ryan's character Annie Reed with her devotion to the idea of having a true love just waiting for her. Julia Roberts' character Vivian Ward and Tom Hanks' character Sam Baldwin each express a reluctance for pursuing their respective relationships. For Vivian it's the notion of getting too close and possibly getting hurt, evidenced by her adherence to her trade's rule not to kiss a "john" - in this case Richard Gere's character Edward Lewis. For Sam Baldwin it's also a physical separation, but for him it's the hurdle of the extreme distance between Baltimore and Seattle and having never actually even met Annie. Fortunately for Sam he has his little boy Jonah to encourage and push him, which is unusual. For Vivian, while she has her friend and fellow working girl Kit De Luca (played by Laura San Giacomo) encouraging her, there is also Edward's slimy lawyer Phillip Stuckey (played by Jason Alexander) to throw in complications. I find "Sleepless in Seattle" to be the sweeter of the two films, with a touch of bittersweetness because Sam loved his wife very much before she succumbed to cancer and never thought he would have to date again. However, I find "Pretty Woman" to have a triumphant feel in that the characters were not looking for love when Edward stopped to ask for directions, and they had struggles over which love prevails. Of course, it would never have worked if he had treated her like a prostitute or if she only had an eye for his money. I just know this is my mother coming out in me, but I think the relationship in "Sleepless in Seattle" has better odds. And that may be what it comes down to for me. On a personal level I can just relate to it more. There is nothing seedy about it, and the sap in me just loves it. I can imagine Annie and Sam (and Jonah) together five years later despite the distance factor, whereas Vivian and Edward I could picture being together or just as easily having grown apart due to their disparate backgrounds. Edward may find Vivian delightful now, but I don't see it necessarily lasting. Again, I just can't relate to it quite as well. My mother always said you should not go looking for lasting love in a bar, and I am pretty sure she would say that applies to Hollywood Boulevard even if Edward really started off only looking for directions. So while acting-wise and storytelling-wise I find these movies to both be excellent, I'm clicking on "Sleepless in Seattle." Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are just so cute in this. And I know, I know, it is not exactly reality-based, either. I love the scene where Annie is watching "An Affair to Remember" with her friend Becky (played by Rosie O'Donnell) and exclaims, "Now that was when people *knew* how to be in love. They knew it! Time, distance, nothing could separate them because they knew. It was right. It was real. It was...," and Becky interrupts her with, "A movie! That's your problem! You don't want to be in love. You want to be in love in a movie." But I don't care. Sorry, Mom, I know Annie maybe should have stayed with her fiancé Walter (played by Bill Pullman), but I still like a little fairy tale in my movies. Besides, I love that the creators made a point of trying to keep the music and clothing timeless and classic, to help it stand the test of time. It worked for me.