Editorials & Opinion

Top Ten Not-Christmas, Well Sorta Movies #8 While You Were Sleeping


Christmas in July, already.  It’s hard to believe that we’re over halfway to the big day.  Time flies when you’re having fun.

Thinking about Christmas in July, it’s fun and it’s practice for some.  The staging point, a milestone and a little innocent fun to be had, but it’s not really Christmas.

That’s what got me thinking about movies set during Christmas, but not really about Christmas.  You know those movies that make a passing mention of the holiday or it’s outdoor scenes that are snow covered or you see the decorations, but it’s not integral to the plot.

So in honor of Christmas in July, I present the Top Ten Not-Christmas but Kinda Christmas Movies, now presenting


#8 While You Were Sleeping

On Christmas day, Lucy rescues Peter from an oncoming train after a mugger pushes him onto the tracks. Peter falls into a coma, and Lucy accompanies him to the hospital, where a nurse overhears her fantasizing aloud, “I was going to marry him.” Misinterpreting her, the nurse tells Peter’s family that Lucy is his fiancée. At first Lucy is too caught up in the panic to explain the truth, and afterward she is too embarrassed.

With no family and few friends, Lucy becomes so captivated with the quirky Callaghans and their unconditional love for her that she cannot bring herself to hurt them by revealing that Peter doesn’t even know her. She spends a delayed Christmas with the family, then meets Peter’s younger brother Jack (Pullman), who has taken over his father’s furniture-moving business. Jack is suspicious of Lucy at first, but he falls in love with her as they spend time together. They develop an intimate relationship and soon after Lucy falls in love with Jack as well.

After New Years, Peter wakes up. He has no memory of Lucy, but by this time the rest of his family has become so convinced of the engagement story that they assume Peter must have amnesia. Not knowing how to tell them the truth, Lucy confides in Peter and Jack’s godfather Saul (Warden), a kindly old man who believes that Lucy belongs in the family. Peter and Lucy spend time together, but she has already fallen in love with Jack. Saul persuades Peter to propose to Lucy “again”, and Lucy agrees despite her feelings for Jack. When Jack visits Lucy the day before the wedding, she gives him a chance to change her mind, asking him if he can give her a reason not to marry Peter. He replies that he can’t, leaving Lucy disappointed.

On the day of the wedding, just as the priest begins the ceremony, Lucy finally confesses everything and tells the family she is in love with Jack rather than Peter. Peter’s real fiancée, who happens to be married, also arrives to stop the wedding. As the family argues, Lucy leaves, unsure of her future.

Some time later, as Lucy collects tokens from passengers at the train station, Jack places an engagement ring in the token tray of her booth. With the entire Callaghan family watching, he walks into the booth and proposes to her. In the last scenes of the film, Jack and Lucy kiss at the end of their wedding, then leave on a train for their honeymoon. Lucy narrates that Jack fulfilled her dream of going to Florence, Italy and explains that, when Peter asked when she fell in love with Jack, she replied, “It was while you were sleeping.”  (Wikipedia)

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