A Buena Vista release. Romantic comedy. Rated PG for some language. Running time: 100 min.
The immensely likable Sandra Bullock stars as Lucy, a young, lonely woman who works as a token-taker for the Chicago Transit Authority. She lives with a cat, and her only romantic prospect is Joe Jr., her landlord's lowbrow son whose cartoonish advances she must constantly deflect. But Lucy believes she's found her true love in a handsome subway passenger, Peter (Peter Gallagher), who she sees every day but has never spoken to. Fate intervenes on a Christmas morning: Peter is knocked onto the rails, and Lucy leaps in front of an oncoming train to save her Prince Charming, who slips into a coma. Confusion ensues at the hospital, and Peter's family comes to believe Lucy is their son's unannounced fiancee. Perhaps because she wishes that were true, but also because she sees that the news brings solace to the family's suffering, Lucy can't bring herself to correct the misunderstanding. The web of deceit grows more tangled when Lucy meets Peter's brother, Jack (Bill Pullman)"and they silently fall in love"and then tangles still more when Peter awakes and asks her to marry him for real.
Despite some logistical flaws, While You Were Sleeping is a sweet, lightweight love story carried by Bullock's winsome performance. On the down side, the rationalizations given for Lucy's inability to reveal the truth, and for some suspicions that Jack has about Lucy, are stretches. But Bullock is subtle and moving in showing how her character is affected by the sense of acceptance and belonging she feels as her supposed future in-laws embrace her. As she becomes one of them, the film gains poignance as it conveys the importance of family.-Christine James