Thank you for listening to Relationship Helpers! We hope that you find our podcast helpful and dare we say it…entertaining! This week marks the second part of a three part series we are doing on “Date Night Movies”.
Each episode we will suggest two movies that you and your loved one can watch. We will discuss some important themes in the movie, along with questions you can ask each other after you enjoy the movie. Today we are talking about “Sleepless in Seattle” and “Hope Floats.”
Sleepless In Seattle
Sleepless in Seattle is a 1993 Norah Ephron drama/romance movie starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. The movie follows Sam, played by Hanks, as he starts a new life after the death of his wife with his young son Jonah. Father and son move to Seattle. Sam buries himself in his work while Jonah searches for connection. In a particularly desperate time, little Jonah calls a radio show and makes it on-air. Ladies all over the country hear Jonah’s pleas for help for his dad. He wants to see his father happy again. Letters pour in to their household, including one from Annie from Baltimore, played by Meg Ryan.
Sam learns that Jonah has been calling this radio show and becomes angry. He starts to date a woman he meets through his work. Jonah finds her “blah.” He encourages his dad to reach out to Annie because he feels that Annie’s letter was the most genuine of any of those written. Meanwhile, Annie is engaged to a man that could also be described as “blah.”
Jonah and Annie make arrangements for Annie to meet Sam at the top of the Empire State Building, without Sam’s knowledge. Does it happen? Watch the movie and find out!
Hope Floats debuted in 1998. The film opener is like Ricki Lake and Jerry Springer had a talk show baby. Birdie, played by Sandra Bullock, has been invited by her best friend to guest on a tv talk show where she is misled into believing that the topic is about friendship. Instead, in front of millions of tv viewers, Birdie is devastated by her friend’s admission that she is having an affair with Birdie’s husband. Crest-fallen, Birdie drives their young daughter Berniece to Birdie’s home town of Smithfield, Texas and the pair move in with Birdie’s mother to start a new life.
A former pageant winner and school queen bee, Birdie is not welcomed back to her hometown with open arms. In fact, many of her former classmates relish the fact that she has been knocked off of her pedestal. This makes getting a job and starting a new life difficult. With the guidance and motivation of her meddlesome mother, Birdie is able to start a life with an old love interest, Justin Matisse. How does Birdie handle the death of her mother and the prospect of creating a blended family? Find out by watching the movie! It has heart.
Major Themes in Sleepless in Seattle & Hope Floats
Both films start with the main characters experiencing life-changing loss. Both Sam and Birdie are faced with starting a new life in a new town with their children and what a new life looks like without major loved ones who have meant so much to their past.
Sleepless in Seattle does not have divorce as a theme but it is the catalyst for Hope Floats. Birdie has to start back at square one when she decides to live a life separate from the one that she and her one-time high school quarterback husband had created. She is forced to find work and make ends meet. She has to become vulnerable to open herself to a new relationship.
Dating After the End of a Marriage
Sam contemplates finding someone new to share his life with after the death of his wife in Sleepless in Seattle. Birdie, at the manipulations of her mother, is thrown together with Justin Matisse, and to her chagrin, falls for him. Both movies show the awkwardness of getting back on the dating scene after couples have been in the comforts of years for marriage.
Both Sleepless in Seattle and Hope Floats have the theme of blended families. Sleepless in Seattle is more of an implied theme as we do not see what happens to Sam, Annie and Jonah. The idea of a blended family is a “what-if question.”
In Hope Floats, however, there is a strong theme of blending family, as Birdie takes in her nephew who was been cared for by her mother after she dies.
After you and your significant other watch the movie together, ask each other these questions:
Which relationship do you identify with most? How?
What’s been the theme/s in your relationships?
What do you think will happen to the couples after the movie?
What did each individual need to do to make the relationship work?