In honor of comedian Mike Birbiglia‘s new movie Sleepwalk With Me I wanted to share a sleepwalking story of my own. I’ll get to the actual review of the movie after the jump. When we were both in middle school, my sister Harriet and I shared a room and slept in loft beds. One night my sister fell asleep before me, an only an hour after she had closed her eyes, she sits up in bed and makes her way down the loft bed ladder, walking in her sleep. I watched her walk into our kitchen, pull out a chair, and tell our perplexed looking father, “I am going to the therapist.” Then she sat down, crossed one leg over the other, placed her hand under her chin in a thinking pose, and began to nod her head. This went on for about a minute, until she got up, eyes still closed, and walked back to bed. The next morning she remembered only that she had a dream about going to see a therapist, but she had no recollection of acting this dream out. I like telling this story of my sister’s somnambulant adventure because it is a story that never fails to make people laugh at the absurdity of our subconscious.
I first heard Birbiglia’s stand-up on a long car ride with my friend back in 2010 and immediately fell in love with his true to life jokes and his spot-on delivery. In Sleepwalk With Me Birbiglia uses the same jokes from many of his stand-up routines to spin a tale that is the right amount of simple and sweet to leave the audience chuckling with delight. The movie is an honest story of one man’s dreams and Dreams.
For me watching this movie was like listening to an episode of NPR’s story-telling program, This American Life (not surprising, considering it was co-written/produced by that show’s host, Ira Glass). By this I mean that it wasn’t saturated with dramatic cliché moments, nor did it contain an epic climax followed by a tidy resolution. Birbiglia’s directorial debut is, however, a relatable glimpse at his own trials, triumphs, and tribulations.
Unlike big Hollywood movies, or experimental artsy-fartsy stuff, this movie is one that can be taken at face value. It is what it is, without any pretension or fanfare. And because of that honesty, it is an enjoyable movie, and one I recommend seeing.