Sleepwalk with Me was produced by the people behind This American Life, a wildly popular American public radio program that has featured some of the most interesting, powerful and humorous stories to ever be broadcast. So you’d think that if This American Life chose a story to be made into a movie it would be truly mind-blowing. Sleepwalk with Me isn’t mind blowing. It’s a modest film. Not much happens. But it’s the kind of film that might tell you a lot about your life if you give it the chance.
Sleepwalk with Me is based on true stories from the life of Mike Birbiglia, who plays Matt Pandamiglio in the film. Matt is trying to figure out what to do with his life – a situation with which everyone in school right now can probably relate. He decides to try stand-up comedy, but Matt isn’t the typical offensive and loud stand-up comedian. Instead he’s self-deprecating, witty and subtle. Some really funny stand-up scenes are part of the already funny plot of the movie, giving Sleepwalk with Me twice the comedy potential of your average film.
Then there’s the sleepwalking, which leads to some ridiculous scenes that are good for laughs. But it’s also used to give the film heart, describing the mental state of Matt who can be reserved and hard to read.
Just like the best stand-up, this film is filled with clever observations about life that give perspective on the things we all do and experience. Matt has been in a long-term relationship with his girlfriend Abby for eight years, and when the idea of marriage comes up they both have to deal with their fear of commitment. Sleepwalk with Me considers the difference between (and difficulty of) learning something about yourself that you want to change and actually changing.
The end of Sleepwalk with Me reveals a truth about why people stay in relationships, even if they’re not happy. I won’t give it away because the insight is so simple, pure and true that it alone makes the movie worth watching.
By: Nolan Matthews