Starring Mike Birbiglia, Lauren Ambrose, Cristin Milioti, Carol Kane
Hey, peoples. With it being Valentines season and all (I hope you all shot you a good valentine but stayed under the weight limit), I picked two movies I had yet to review. This is the first.
Be warned, there’s some spoilers here. Go watch this movie if you do not want it to be spoiled. I encourage it.
Based on the life of comedian Mike Birbiglia, Sleepwalk With Me tells the story of an up and coming comedian struggling with his career, his love life, and an issue with sleepwalking.
What I liked
Truth in Comedy
I think what I like most about this movie was the honest depiction of a creative person. All the worry and doubt and triumph and compromise is in this story.
“Do I include real stories? Wow, that’s what I was trying to say all along! There’s other people who do this, too. How the hell can I ever do this again after that really bad review/reaction/whatever? Yes, I will do this for nothing because I love it.”
Every part of that journey is depicted here and I can only hope it will inspire others to keep on going.
Sometimes it does not work. Spoiler alert earned. I think that there is something brave about a film that depicts the downfall of a relationship, the dissolving of two peoples bond, and then just walking away and still leaving the viewer hopeful. I have seen other movies that depict this type of romance reach at the end to pull another girl out to say something like, “eh? Right? Nuther girl right there and maybe she’s the one but you’ll never know cause END CREDITS.” This movie does not do that. Unless you view comedy as the mistress in the relationship. Then, yeah, there’s some boning going on there.
This is a low budget indie flick filled with comedians, so I was braced to see a lot of stilted performances and people looking uncomfortable working with other people. Not the case. Everyone in this movie gives it their all and comes across as likeable and honest. I do not see any break out performances here, but I would love to see everyone in this movie again. Standouts are Birbiglia carrying his own while directing, Lauren Ambrose who I kinda fell in love with, Carol Kane who needs to be in all the things, and Marc Maron who should do more “I’m just here to drop some knowledge and bang the waitress” roles.
What I didn’t like
I cannot find a lot to dislike about this movie, but the pacing does seem off at various times. Either this was due to the numerous edits that were made or simply because it was a difficult story to balance, I could not tell. The movie seems to start and stop at various times, shifting between emotions quickly and at times with jarring speed. This type of mood whiplash is good once or twice, but over and over can make the viewer tired.
As much as I enjoy the parts, at times the sum of the whole is lost. The juxtaposition of the sleepwalking to the love story to the comedic journey is heavy handed at times. While I followed the story throughout, looking back on the movie reveals an unbalanced load between the mundane, heightened and surreal. The comedy, too, can be the same way. Instead of a flow of a man discovering inner humor, we see a funny guy learning how to write jokes and get laughs. I understand that is a key part of a comedian's journey, but from a narrative standpoint I believe it was almost handed as too subtle a change at times.
Who would like this?
Here’s the part where I sound like a dick, but I mean this in the best way possible: Anybody could sit through this movie. That sounds dismissive, but I swear it is not. I might have said “broad appeal,” but it’s not like I can erase these things as I type. Comedy and romance go hand in hand and this movie handles them both well enough to please anyone looking to spend a friday night inside on the couch either alone or with a friend.
Why was it banned?
This movie is fresh off the reels so as far as I could tell it has not been banned anywhere. However, some strong language and sexual situations keep it firmly in the teenager and above camp.