The Sleepy Time Gal (2001)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Family Drama, Medical Drama  |   Release Date - May 29, 2002 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 108 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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This hushed drama from indie maverick Christopher Munch never received a theatrical release despite some good reviews upon its premiere at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. Starring a superb Jacqueline Bisset as a woman dying of cancer, The Sleepy Time Gal is about the search for identity -- a search that, Munch suggests, lasts a lifetime. Even as Rebecca (Martha Plimpton), an Ivy League-educated career woman, seeks the woman who gave her up for adoption when she was an infant, Frances (Bisset) wishes to meet the daughter she gave away before she dies. Flitting back and forth through time, Sleepy Time Gal imparts the feeling of a life fully lived. A common visual motif is a stray cut here and there to an inscription, a gravestone or a memorial (Frances was a history buff), subtly conveying a keen sense of mortality, as well as underscoring the movie's obsession with the past. Almost European in its low-key approach to prime dramatic material, the somewhat contrived plot and stilted dialogue are mitigated by Munch's understated, delicate visuals. Though hardly perfect, the movie's evocation of the mystical connections between parent and child -- and the impalpable legacy that one bequeaths another -- leaves a poignant imprint.