Sleepwalking is a 2007 dramatic film starring Nick Stahl, AnnaSophia Robb, and Charlize Theron (who also produces the film). It centers on the bonding of a 30-year-old man and his 12-year-old niece after she is abandoned by her mother. The girl is taken in by the state after he loses his job and apartment. The two then depart on a road trip to his father's farm, a place he and his sister never intended to go back to. 'Sleepwalking' was an original screenplay by Zac Stanford and was the directorial debut of William Maher. Shooting began in October, 2006 in Moose Jaw and Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada under the working title Ferris Wheel. It was filmed on a 29-day shooting schedule often under sub-zero conditions. The film featured the song "Come On, Come Out" by A Fine Frenzy. It premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival on January 22, 2008.
|Directed by||William Maher|
|Produced by||Charlize Theron|
|Written by||Zac Stanford|
|Music by||Christopher Young|
|Cinematography||Juan Ruiz Anchía|
|Edited by||Stuart Levy|
|Distributed by||Overture Films|
|August 22, 2007|
Tara Reedy (AnnaSophia Robb) and her reckless mother Joleen (Charlize Theron) have been evicted from the house where they were staying with Joleen’s latest boyfriend, who was arrested for growing marijuana. Tara is forced to follow Joleen as she begs her younger brother, James (Nick Stahl), to take them in.
Shortly after moving into James’ apartment, Joleen runs off with a truck driver, leaving Tara with her uncle, who works with a road-building crew. After missing too many days of work, he is fired, and ends up crashing in the basement of his married best friend, Randall (Woody Harrelson). Tara is then sent to a foster home.
In an effort to reunite with Tara, James snatches her from foster care and drives to his childhood home, which he and Joleen had fled from many years earlier. James and Tara agree to pose as father and daughter during the road trip, and begin to develop a familial bond. Upon arriving at the Reedy homestead, which has now become a run-down cattle and horse farm, they are immediately put to work as unpaid labor by the head of the household, Mr. Reedy (Dennis Hopper).
Mr. Reedy treats Tara with contempt, physically abusing her due to her inexperience with farming. James attempts to stand up to his father, but is quickly rebuked and threatened with a shovel. After silencing his son, Mr. Reedy continues to criticize Tara, until James snaps and beats his father to death with the shovel, exacting revenge for the years of abuse he and Joleen had previously suffered. James then drives Tara to Westmoreland, where Joleen is waiting at the police station. He leaves Tara with Joleen as the police rush out to arrest him, only to find him already gone.
American newspaper The Christian Science Monitor praised the film, commenting that "Despite its deficiencies, and the inadequate screen time allotted to Theron (who's quite good), "Sleepwalking" has a core of feeling. It's about a do-gooder who, lacking all skills for it, does good anyway. His emotional odyssey has real poignancy," concluding to give it a final rating of "B". In a review for USA Today, Claudia Puig called the film "Portentous and dull," adding that "[the film] features one of the worst over-the-top performances by Dennis Hopper, who plays an abusive father." The New York Post reacted negatively to the film, writing that it is "relentlessly depressing", whereas The New York Times gave a neutral review, noting that "Sleepwalking sustains a mood of unrelenting bleakness, wearing its aesthetic of desolation like a badge of integrity."
Reviewing the film negatively, Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post called the film "an inert, sloppily written melodrama as grim and featureless as its frozen Midwestern setting." The Chicago Tribune wrote negatively of the film, noting that "Despite honorable work from Theron, Robb, and Stahl, "Sleepwalking" makes good on its title in a not-so-good way."
The DVD release does not include any deleted scenes. At least two scenes were filmed that did not make the final cut. In one, Tara sees her mother flirting at a roller rink. This scene might have given more insight into why Tara carries roller skates with her and Joleen's motivations for running off. Brief clips of this scene can be viewed on the official movie trailer. Two stills from the movie's official website depict Tara and James in a colorful room with a piano, sunflowers, and streamers. It may have been a fantasy sequence of Tara's that she had to temporarily escape from Mr. Reedy's demanding work. Alternatively, they could have decorated the farmhouse after Mr. Reedy was not a threat to them.
- "2008 Sundance Film Festival Announces Films in the Premiers, Spectrum, New Frontier and Park City at Midnight Sections" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-07-09. Retrieved 2008-01-18. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Rainer, Peter (March 14, 2008). "'Sleepwalking' has a dreamy feel". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2008-03-15.
- Puig, Claudia (March 14, 2008). "Also in theaters: 'Funny Games,' 'Sleepwalking,' 'Doomsday'". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-03-15.
- Lumenick, Lou (March 14, 2008). "Way Down in the Dumps". The New York Post. Retrieved 2008-03-15.
- Holden, Stephen (March 14, 2008). "On the Road to Nowhere in Down-and-Out America". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-15.
- Hornaday, Ann (March 14, 2008). "Sleepwalking". The New York Post. Retrieved 2008-03-15.
- Phillips, Michael (March 14, 2008). "Movie review: 'Sleepwalking'". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2008-03-15.