An eager young Englishman is dispatched to Sarawak to become part of the British colonial government…
Release Year: 2003
Rating: 6.6/10 (4,379 voted)
Stars: Jessica Alba, Brenda Blethyn, Hugh Dancy
An eager young Englishman is dispatched to Sarawak to become part of the British colonial government, encounters some unorthodox local traditions, and finds himself faced with tough decisions of the heart involving the beautiful young Selima, the unwitting object of his affections.
Christopher Ling Lee Ian
Michael Jessing Langgi
Cicilia Anak Richard
Kate Helen White
Learn to speak her language.
Fine Line Features Article |
Release Date: 31 January 2003
Filming Locations: Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Box Office Details
Did You Know?
The film used more than 600 Iban extras.
When Selima and Truscott are given the turquoise bracelets, she takes Truscott's off and wears it. In the next shot, she gives him hers but she's still holding his.
I'm sorry that was too quick wasn't it?
You teach me English, I teach you this.
Not quite enough to be enough
The Sleeping Dictionary should be noted mostly for being the biggest
opportunity of shooting star Jessica Alba. This film was her only film
between the first and second seasons of "Dark Angel,' the show that turned
into a sensation, but quickly died a network death at the end of season 2,
thus ending the heat index on the lovely Miss Alba. The tragedy is this
good showcase of her and her abilities (rather than just her), was
delayed, pushed off and kept from theater screens, only to be released
video far too long after her star dimmed.
As with any product here, you can get the synopsis elsewhere, so don't
it here. I'll try not to spoil anything, but take note if you read this,
then watch the
movie, you may get tipped off as to what I'm vaguely referencing. If that
you, come back after you watch!
This is a film that had a good idea, and good execution of what the idea
into. Unfortunately, a little bit more planning would have helped. At 109
this film won't bore you, but it could have been rightfully intriguing
minutes of good plot added.
The film is carried on the sound filmmaking and charm of it's actors. In
Alba is enchanting. She plays the part with the seriousness it was
never lets her intentionally accented English fall into 'stupid foreigner'
stereotype, a tough job for many young actors and actresses who have
attempted the same. Her partner, Hugh Dancy, is good enough. He channels
little bit like a scrawny Heath Ledger, but never quite gets rugged
The other joy of the cast is the ever-underrated Bob Hoskins. By
saw 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' just hours before watching 'Sleeping
Dictionary,' and am never let down by his appearances in films. He plays
character who isn't written subtly enough; still, he acts it. The endless
"Damn bloody fool. Good for him, the w***er" scattered through the film
enough for a man of his caliber, but we'll take what we can
Their performances are weaved together well by Writer/Director Guy Jenkin,
who is making his big screen debut as a director, though his writing
back to the late '70's without much acclaim. Directing-wise, he knows what
doing. The camera work is graceful and beautiful, and he compliments the
fantastic elements of the story well. As a writer, well, there are things
left to be
Most of all, this film seems too short. The story is predictable, but it
The love scenes are contrived, as is the underdeveloped climax, but that's
where the film is weak. The characters are cleverly set up to be mirrors,
overlapping triangles are so complex they rival those brainteasers that
many triangles are in this picture?' The problem is, the most important
never realized, because of the lack of development between Dancy and his
friend within the tribe. Without much difficulty, and a little more time,
relationship alone would have lifted this film from not quite enough to a
not better, movie.
As a result, you're left with a film that doesn't challenge anything
challenges the same old things. But it is romantic, and has much more
than many other movies you may see of this type. For that, and a young
who has way too much fire to just disappear at this point of her career,
this film is