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Sleeping with the Enemy is a 1991 psychological thriller film, directed by Joseph Ruben. It was based on a 1987 novel of the same name by Nancy Price. The protagonist was Julia Roberts, who escapes from her abusive, obsessive husband, played by Patrick Bergin. She captures the attention of a kindly gentleman, played by Kevin Anderson.

The score by Jerry Goldsmith won the BMI Film Music Award, 1992, and the film was nominated for the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Award for 1992 in four categories: Best Actress (Roberts), Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor (Bergin), Best Horror Film and Best Music (Goldsmith).

Julia Roberts plays Laura Burney, a woman who seemingly has it all: a beautiful home, a wealthy and handsome husband, and anything she may desire.

But her idyllic life is not what it seems, as it is revealed that her perfect husband Martin is also a controlling and abusive man who slaps and kicks her merely for looking at another man out the window. And it's soon established this isn't the first time he's done something like that...

Then, when the Burneys are out on the sea, a storm comes up, and Laura makes a plan to fake her death and finally escape her situation.


This movie provides examples of:

  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: Martin is almost consistently dressed in black or other dark colors throughout the film, particularly in the scenes where he has tracked Laura down and is stalking her. Because obviously the audience would otherwise never know that he's a bad guy. Conversely, except for a party dress, Laura is mostly clad in whites and pastels.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Martin.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Subverted, as Laura usually goes barefoot only at home.
  • Domestic Abuser: Martin.
  • Fridge Horror: What the hell happens to Laura's mother when Martin tracks her down after he realizes his wife escaped from him? The film never answers that question. (This could also go under "Plot Holes" below.)
    • The nurse interrupts him before he can smother her, at which point he leaves. I think the viewer can safely assume she's all right
  • False Soulmate: Martin to Laura.
  • Friends Rent Control: Laura is able to rent, fix up, and maintain a huge, beautiful home, plus pay for all her daily living expenses despite only having a part-time job at a library before her escape, and initially not working at all when she does get away. And when she does start working, she's still in a job that doesn't pay much.
  • Important Haircut: Laura cuts her hair as part of her transformation from battered, submissive wife to free woman.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Martin.
  • Nice Guy: Ben.
  • Oh Crap: The look on Martin's face just before Laura empties her gun into him
  • Plot Holes: Laura's entire escape plan from Martin is full of them. The convenient storm on the night she decides to escape. Safely swimming to shore in conditions that Micheal Phelps would have drowned in--dark, bad weather, far out to sea. Leaving her getaway bag at the house, where sure enough, she leaves a clue that tips off her psycho hubby to the fact that she's still alive. Not to mention how she managed to take those swimming lessons, when it's obvious the guy watched her like a hawk. And where she got the money for her escape, her mother's stay at the nursing home, and renting and maintaining the large house she settles into--no part-time library job is going to pay for all that.
    • It was pretty obvious she had been planning to escape by any means for a very long time. She probably didn't plan to escape on that night in particular, it might have happened to be that there was a storm which provided an opportunity to escape. Enough adrenaline can allow people to do extraordinary things, so that was probably how she swam to shore. Since she needed to escape from him and planned to for a while then she knew she needed certain things, like a getaway bag. The clue, being the wedding ring she threw in the toilet, was a heat of the moment, fit of rage that she really didnt think through. The swimming lessons were taking place when the husband thought she was working at the library, so he probably dropped her off at the library, where she stayed for a bit before walking to her swimming lessons and walking back to the library afterwards. As for the money, it clearly wasn't hers, so we can assume she had been taking a little bit at a time from him and saving up for most of the three years they've been together. It's obvious he was wealthy, so asking for money for shoes or something would have seemed normal. All convenient, but not necessarily plot holes.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Martin.
  • Taking You with Me: Attempted, but averted. After shooting Martin, Laura collapses in tears. Suddenly, he grabs hold of her and points the gun at her head, pulls the trigger...and the gun's empty
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: When Laura shoots Martin, she empties the gun into him.
  • Revealing Hug: Laura acts aroused as her husband makes advances to her, but we soon see her upset face over his shoulder throughout the entire sex scene. Is this case, however, the viewer already knows that she's faking it.
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