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Sleepwalk With Me 2012 UNRATED CC

"I'm going to tell you a story, and it's true... I always have to tell people that." So asserts comedian-turned-playwright-turned-filmmaker Mike Birbiglia directly to the viewer at the outset of his autobiographically inspired, fictional feature debut. Birbiglia wears his incisive wit on his sleeve while portraying a cinematic surrogate.

Starring:
Mike Birbiglia, Lauren Ambrose
Runtime:
1 hour, 21 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Comedy
Director Mike Birbiglia, Seth Barrish
Starring Mike Birbiglia, Lauren Ambrose
Supporting actors James Rebhorn, Carol Kane, Cristin Milioti, Aya Cash, Marylouise Burke, Loudon Wainwright III, Ben Levin, Henry Phillips, Jessi Klein, Emily Meade, Danny Borbon, Amanda Perez, Lucy DeVito, Kristen Schaal, Alex Karpovsky, Ron Nakahara, Wyatt Cenac, Ira Glass
Studio IFC Films
MPAA rating Unrated
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I've seen Mike Birbiglia in a few stand up broadcasts, but really knew nothing about him, except that I liked his laconic, stutter-step approach to delivering his material. He seemed like a funny guy who also happened to be sorta nice too. I knew nothing about his book, Ira Glass appearances or one-man off-Broadway show. That's probably a good thing, because I was able to enjoy SLEEPWALK WITH ME pretty much on its own terms.

Apparently this movie is quite autobiographical, even though Mike has changed his character's name to Matt. But Mike/Matt frequently talks directly to the camera, and we're assured the story is true...so it's almost impossible not to assume that we're basically seeing a (perhaps exaggerated) take on Birbiglia's life. But it doesn't really matter either...the story is compelling and says some interesting things about relationships and about how a stand-up comic builds their career literally from the ground up.

Matt is in an 8-year relationship with Abby (Lauren Ambrose, who is wonderful). Abby is a great girl, and everyone (both viewer and the characters on screen) have to wonder why Matt is having a hard time settling down and committing to a marriage with her. But as Matt says, he's unhappy that everyone says the best thing about him is his girlfriend. It's true. He's a bartender who wants to do stand-up. Or at least, he thinks he does...he gets almost no opportunities to try. His life and his relationship is on hold. Abby is faithful and patient, but also growing frustrated. Surely she is wondering what more she can give of herself to this man who trembles at the thought of marrying her.

One day, with Abby's help, Matt actually gets an agent. And the agent begins to give Matt tiny gigs.
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Format: DVD
"Sleepwalk With Me" (2012 US release; 90 min.) brings the story of Matt (played by Mike Birbiglia) as he struggles with a sleep disorder and tries to salvage his long-time relationship with Abby (played by Lauren Ambrose). Abby wants to get married, badly. Matt, not so much. Abby is looking for any sign from Matt that he will propose, which he eventually does, after an emotional side trip that makes him feel guilty and ashamed. Parallel to all of this, we see Matt getting his start on the stand-up comedy circuit, and barely hnaging on. Then, one day, he makes a funny quip about his failing relationship with Abby, and wouldn't you know, the audience eats it up! I don't want to give more away, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Several comments: first and foremost, even though he plays a character called "Matt", this story is based on Mike Birbiglia's own life experiences (in fact, before this became a movie, this was an unexpected off-Broadway hit play). Birbiglia not only stars but also co-wrote and co-directed the movie. Second, the movie makes the most of the shoestring budget on which this obviously was made, and I was pleasantly surprised how well it all flowed. Last but not least, the overall tione of the movie is very much bitter-sweet (to me at least). When I saw this in the theatre a few days ago (at the Landmark E Street Cinema in Washington, DC), there were a number of people who were laughing out loud in many parts of the movie. I never felt quite that way. Yes, there are funny moments in it, but when all is said and done, this movie documents a failing relationship and a serious disorder, so how truly laugh-out-loud funny is that?
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Like many other reviewers, I think Mike Birbiglia is a phenomenal comedian and story teller. Within that work he shares very personal and embarrassing stories that come out hilarious when he tells them. So, like many other reviewers, I almost feel the need to apologize before being critical of his work. Recently I saw Mike Birbiglia's Thank God for Jokes at the Fargo Theatre, which was the best comedy I have ever seen. He had me in stitches, AND he made me feel better about my own embarrassing moments to boot. After that great set, "Sleepwalk With Me" was, to borrow language from another reviewer, a bittersweet chaser.

First of all, the protagonist in the movie is named Matt Pandemiglio, which is awkward, because the film is clearly autobiographical. Was Mike Birbiglia just not willing to own his story on the big screen? Why the face, Mike? It does not get any less awkward when "Matt" narrates in first-person between scenes. The whole thing was awkward, largely because the title gave me the wrong expectations. When I casually streamed "Sleepwalk with Me" to my living room, I was half expecting a sleepwalk documentary and half expecting something funny. The movie met neither expectation, though it does contain elements of both sleepwalking and comedy. Overall, I would have been less disappointed if the title had been better at cluing me in as to what I was about to see. Perhaps, "Mike Birbiglia's Grotesquely Unreasonable Courtship of Abby and How It Turned Him into a Great Standup Comedian," or "This Is Not So Much a Funny Movie about Sleepwalking As It Is a Sad Movie about Mike Birbiglia, Who Is Someone Who Is Funny and also Sleepwalks."

Every review I read on Amazon has totally nailed this movie.
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