Sleeping with the Enemy

February 8, 1991 0 By Fans
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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.

Release Year: 1991

Rating: 5.8/10 (18,785 voted)

Joseph Ruben

Stars: Julia Roberts, Patrick Bergin, Kevin Anderson

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.

Writers: Nancy Price, Ronald Bass


Julia Roberts

Laura Burney

Patrick Bergin

Martin Burney

Kevin Anderson

Ben Woodward

Elizabeth Lawrence

Chloe Williams

Kyle Secor


Claudette Nevins

Dr. Rissner

Tony Abatemarco


Marita Geraghty


Harley Venton


Nancy Fish

Woman on Bus

Sandi Shackelford


Bonnie Johnson

Mrs. Nepper

(as Bonnie Cook)

Graham Harrington


John Ward

Theater Student

(as John David Ward)

Sharon J. Robinson

Sharon (the Nurse)

Self-Defense is not murder

Release Date: 8 February 1991

Filming Locations: Abbeville, South Carolina, USA

Gross: $174,999,005

Technical Specs


Did You Know?


The sign at the carnival reads "Claude Powell's Super Carnival". 'Claude Powell' worked as the construction coordinator in the Art Department on the film.


Crew or equipment visible:
When Laura escapes in the yacht, two crewmembers can be seen in the area below deck.


That was the night that I died, and someone else was saved. Someone who was afraid of water, but learned to swim. Someone who knew there would be one moment, where he wouldn't be watching. Someone who knew that the darkness of the broken lights would show the way.

User Review

Let's answer some of those questions

Rating: 8/10

I love this movie! I read the book and have seen it many times. I note
that the same questions keep appearing over and over. I think by now I
am qualified to answer them, or to at least give my opinions.

**Why does Laura choose to 'flush' her ring down the toilet instead of
taking it off while she is in the ocean or pawning it?** Because she is
symbolically ridding herself of Martin and their dysfunctional
marriage. She is in a hurry to get out of the house and never stops to
think that the ring might remain in the toilet bowl. Under the
circumstances, would you?

**How did the lady from the YMCA get Martin's work number? And after
Martin said he didn't know what she was talking about, why did the lady
continue to give Laura's life story?** Martin was a successful Boston
businessman. Laura took swim lessons at the Y in Boston for several
months and apparently got to know some of the women fairly well. Her
name and her husband's name were undoubtedly well known by the time she
finished her swim lessons and moved on. It probably only took a look in
the Boston phone book to find Martin, as Laura had nothing to hide at
the time of the swim lessons (except the bruises, which she explained
away) and surely mentioned where he worked, or he had an individual
listing. The lady was certain she had the right person when she was
talking to Martin, so unfortunately she developed diarrhea of the mouth
and provided Martin with too many details.

**Why was the ring still in the toilet when Martin cut his finger
months later? Didn't he use the toilet in those months? Or does he have
a serious digestive problem?** I am surprised so many people overlooked
this: the house at the Cape was the Burneys' weekend/summer home.
Martin Burney worked in Boston, and they had a house there where they
lived during the week. When his wife "died", Martin immediately closed
up the Cape house – hence the coverings on the furniture when he
returned months later – and moved to their house in Boston. Guess he
didn't have to pee before he left, or he used one of the other
bathrooms in the house.

**How did Laura get a house under an alias without a driver's license?
What…in Iowa you don't need identification to buy a house or a car?
And where did she get the money?** Laura did not BUY a house, she
rented it, and for very little, in cash. She apparently bought a used
car. As we saw when she returned to the Cape house after faking her
death to collect her things and run away, there was a big wad of cash
in her travel bag. I don't remember all the details from the book, but
obviously she had been saving money all along. She worked part-time at
the library in Boston (after her 8:00 a.m. swim lessons, one presumes),
so had her own money as well as whatever she could save from the money
Martin gave her for groceries, etc. Money talks, in Iowa like anywhere

**Just because Laura didn't want to have sex with Ben, Ben asks "Oh my
god, what did he do to you?' How the heck does he know that anything
happened? What does he have as evidence besides the facts that he
called her in a crowd and she didn't respond, and she had a bruise on
her head? That's a pretty great assumption to make.** Ben was a
perceptive, intelligent guy. He knew right after meeting her that
something was seriously wrong in her life and that she was hiding her
identity for a reason. He put things together pretty quickly, but
figuring out that she was running from an abusive man wasn't exactly
rocket science with all the clues she gave out.

**And the thing that really makes me mad. She hears a noise so it must
be her husband. Instead of calling the cops or running out of the
house…she goes and checks the cabinets to see if all of the cans are
neatly arranged. I know that this does happen…but if your husband was
in your house, what the heck would make you think that he took the time
to arrange your cabinet and he's not just going to kill you?** The man
had been terrorizing her for four years. She was paranoid. She wasn't
thinking clearly and was doubting her sanity. Call it Suspense Movie
Syndrome – just gotta look in that dark room/closet!