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Sleeping with the Enemy (1991)

A young woman fakes her own death in an attempt to escape her nightmarish marriage, but discovers it is impossible to elude her controlling husband.

Director:

Joseph Ruben

Writers:

Nancy Price (novel), Ronald Bass (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
3,627 ( 651)
2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Julia Roberts ... Laura Burney
Patrick Bergin ... Martin Burney
Kevin Anderson ... Ben Woodward
Elizabeth Lawrence ... Chloe Williams
Kyle Secor ... Fleishman
Claudette Nevins ... Dr. Rissner
Tony Abatemarco ... Locke
Marita Geraghty ... Julie
Harley Venton Harley Venton ... Garber
Nancy Fish ... Woman on Bus
Sandi Shackelford Sandi Shackelford ... Edna
Bonnie Johnson ... Mrs. Nepper (as Bonnie Cook)
Graham Harrington Graham Harrington ... Minister
John Ward ... Theater Student (as John David Ward)
Sharon J. Robinson Sharon J. Robinson ... Sharon (the Nurse)
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Storyline

Laura and Martin have been married for four years. They seem to be the perfect, happiest and most successful couple. The reality of their house- hold, however, is very different. Martin is an abusive and brutally obsessed husband. Laura is living her life in constant fear and waits for a chance to escape. She finally stages her own death, and flees to a new town and new identity. But when Martin finds out that his wife is not dead he will stop at nothing to find and kill her. Written by Sami Al-Taher <staher2000@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She is a stranger in a small town. She changed her name. Her looks. Her life. All to escape the most dangerous man she's ever met. Her husband. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for wife abuse terror and a sex scene | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 February 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sleeping with the Enemy See more »

Filming Locations:

Abbeville, South Carolina, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$19,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,777,943, 10 February 1991

Gross USA:

$101,599,005

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$174,999,005
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There is a photo of the rear of the fake house movie set that was built for the Burney's house on the internet that clearly shows it is not a real house, but a facade. This view, of course, is not ever shown in the movie for obvious reasons. But on the 2009 DVD cover, the house that is shown is the rear facade picture that shows the house is fake. See more »

Goofs

When Laura first goes over to Ben's house for dinner, Laura makes the comment that she likes Classical Music, and then elaborates, saying anything except Berlioz. Berlioz is a Romantic Composer. However, the term "Classical" is commonly used by the general public to refer to instrumental or orchestral music regardless of the time period in which it was actually created. See more »

Quotes

Martin: [Martin accosts drama teacher from the back seat with a gun as he enters his vehicle] Where is she? Please don't make me ask again!
Drama Teacher: I don't... I don't know!
Martin: My wife! She's only my wife... wonderful fuck, isn't she?
Drama Teacher: Mister, you've got the wrong guy!
Martin: That would be disappointing, and I hate to be wrong.
Drama Teacher: Why? Why does it have to be me?
Martin: Because you teach drama.
Drama Teacher: Oh Jesus, God... there must be half a dozen...
Martin: It's you.
Drama Teacher: No, you don't understand. I live with another man! Ask anyone!
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the US theatrical release, the sex scene cuts out right after Martin and Laura return from the party and they kiss. In the uncut version, from when they kiss, Martin is seen pulling Laura up onto tables and against furniture as he has sex with her. This version was used for the worldwide Blu-ray release. See more »


Soundtracks

Dream of a Witches' Sabbath
(5th Movement of "Symphonie Fantastique")
Music by Hector Berlioz
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Industry standard thriller only raised by Roberts' presence
28 July 2008 | by Mr_PCMSee all my reviews

One of many standard thrillers that were scattered through the late 80s and early 90s, many of which would star Julia Roberts, and which showed her to be more than just the pretty romantic lead. Here she plays a much stronger character, a woman fleeing her abusive husband to start a new life, strong, independent but still skittish, worried that she might be found.

A tale of beautiful but terrified housewife Laura(Roberts) who resorts to desperate lengths to escape the constant fear of her violent and controlling husband martin (Patrick Bergin) in which she lives – faking her own death to be able to begin a new life far away. However, finding little peace she is still haunted by her previous life, a life which inevitably catches up with her when her husband discovers she is still alive and attempts to track her down.

Roberts can do the strong independent woman role in her sleep and make it appear effortless - a fact proved later with her Oscar win for Erin Brockovich - and in Sleeping with the Enemy she shows the early talent which would eventually lead her to that Oscar win. Meanwhile Bergin is suitably menacing in a rent-a-villain kind of way, all grimacing and intense staring. He does however have a rather interesting tic – a form of OCD- towels all neatly lined up and so on – which could have served as a rather effective tension builder had it been given further development.

However the film itself, while entertaining and diverting enough in its' own right, there is still something very standard and formulaic about the plot. For far too much of the film's (admittedly short) 94-minute runtime we seem to be waiting for the film to get going, and the climax arrives far too late and is too short, wasting the tension which has been built up. In addition, Kevin Anderson as Ben, the white knight who should rescue Laura from her fear, just does not seem to gel with the part – coming off as slightly creepy himself rather than a hero, particularly in the early half of the film.

Overall Sleeping With The Enemy remains a standard typical early 90s thriller of which there were so many, no better or worse than any of the others. A curio for fans of Julia Roberts wishing to see her earlier career development in an effective performance, but the average plot makes the film a throwaway thriller which could serve for a Saturday evening's entertainment with a bottle of wine, but little more. Reasonable, serviceable but forgettable.


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