A sexy and comic love story, set in the 1920s, about an idealistic young British colonial officer who arrives in a remote jungle outpost to find himself assigned a local beauty to sleep with him and teach him the language.
Don't let the title fool you: The Sleeping Dictionary
is the most seductive argument for foreign-language education a boy ever had. Hugh Dancy is a young and idealistic colonial official posted to Britain's deep-jungle Sarawak outpost in 1939, and Jessica Alba (Dark Angel
) is the "sleeping dictionary," a sexy tutor who proves that the fastest way to learn a language is through lovemaking. Guy Jenkin trades in old clichés for new ones in his revision of the exotic old melodramas of forbidden love between handsome colonial men and gorgeous, guileless native girls. Alba's accent slips and slides but she's a sweet, sexy, and beguiling presence, while Bob Hoskins and Brenda Blethyn uphold the all-important appearance of British morality. If you can overlook the contrivances, it makes for a lush romantic fantasy about the triumph of love over the hypocrisy of so-called civilized society. --Sean Axmaker