The Sleepy Time Gal (2001)

DVD Cover (Sundance Channel Home Entertainment)
Christopher Munch Christopher Munch
Jacqueline Bisset Jacqueline Bisset
Martha Plimpton Martha Plimpton
Nick Stahl Nick Stahl
Amy Madigan Amy Madigan
Frankie Faison Frankie Faison

6.0 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Drama, Family Drama, Medical Drama
A young woman learns of her adoption and eventually quits her law firm job and goes on a journey to find her birth mother. --TMDb
Review by bluemeanie
Added: June 04, 2005
I just might have found my "Life As A House" for 2002. There is always one film that sticks out in your mind each year--a film that stays with you and never lets you go. Thus far in 2002, I have seen many films, but none of them have had the lingering effect of "The Sleepy Time Gal", the best film of 2002, so far, and an incredible testimony of family and discovery.

Jacqueline Bisset stars as Frances, a former Florida DJ, who relocates to San Francisco where she is dying of cancer. The film is completely and wholly about Frances, though we meet a few other supporting characters of major importance. One of those supporting characters is Morgan (Nick Stahl), Frances' son, who is a rising star in the world of photography. Frances also has another son who lives in London, but the two haven't spoken in a long time. While making a trip to Pennsylvania to make a connection with an old flame, fate brings Frances together with her long lost daughter Rebecca (Martha Plimpton), and the two lives intersect in a way I will not reveal, hoping that you will go and see this miracle of a film for yourself.

Besides a fresh and original screenplay, what makes this film so special are the incredible performances from the entire cast, three in particular. Jacqueline Bisset is a revelation as Frances, a woman trying to get her life in order because she knows her days are slowly disappearing. Martha Plimpton is heartbreaking as a woman who has never known her mother, and Nick Stahl comes off his amazing performance from "In the Bedroom" with another marvel. The strength of the performances come from the fact that all of the actors are subtle and quiet in their methods and ways, never getting too over-the-top of carried away with what they are doing or why they are doing it. This could have become just another Lifetime Movie of the Week, but instead transcends melodrama status and becomes a level all it's own.

When watching this picture, I was reminded of films like "Ordinary People" and "Terms of Endearment"--not because of similar plotlines, but because the actors seemed to be going with the same attitude towards the material, and those attitudes are what make all of those films so incredible to view, time and time again.

Director Christopher Munch has delivered an emotional wallop of a film, and considering it is his first major American motion picture, I will be expecting great things from him in the future. Now, I know that "The Sleepy Time Gal" is still only in limited release, but it would certainly be worth your while to go check it out if possible. If you like all of the other films I have mentioned in this review, you are guaranteed to like "The Sleepy Time Gal". If you don't like the movies I have mentioned, you should still go see it, just so you can argue about it with me. Like "Life As A House", this will be one I defend for a long time, though I don't see why anyone would ever have a problem with it. This is flawless filmmaking and will definitely be on my Top Ten List for the year. 9/10.
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