Movies based on actual events are far too many in today’s era of film making. And far too many of those movies over-glamorize the events on which they are based. However, among that genre of movies though, is thankfully an occasional diamond in the rough. One of those diamonds comes from veteran comic Mike Birbiglia and NPR host Ira Glass. That movie is the indie flick, Sleepwalk With Me.
Sleepwalk With Me is quirky. It’s sometimes bizarre. And it’s original. There is nothing like this movie out there today either in the mainstream or indie world. The story behind Sleepwalk With Me centers on Mike’s character Matt and his attempt to become a big time comedian all while trying to very precariously balance his relationship with then girlfriend Abby (played by Lauren Ambrose). In the middle of all of this is Matt’s sleeping disorder called “R.E.M. Behavior Disorder.” According to the doctor that Matt listens to on his book on tape, “R.E.M. Behavior Disorder” is the tendency of a person to actually physically act out his/her dreams. That behavior makes for more than its share of both funny and emotional moments. Added into the story’s balance of comedy and drama, it adds its own touch to make for both more laughs and emotional moments, making for a movie that is entirely original and entertaining at the same time.
The central story of Sleepwalk With Me is original in that as star Mike Birbiglia notes in the additional Q&A bonus feature, it is in large part autobiographical. So rather than being just another one of those movies that is based on actual events, Birbiglia and friend Ira Glass (NPR’s This American Life) have crafted a story that while somewhat fictional still is a very close mirror to Birbiglia’s life. And what’s more entertaining that someone telling a story of their own life in their own words? Birbiglia’s story is both funny and at times heartwarming. As is the case with any movie though, it is a niche film. So it’s not a movie for everyone. But those who are fans of Ira Glass work on NPR or Birbiglia’s work will appreciate this movie. Niche film aside, it’s still nice to see this movie as it’s nice to see that among all the prequels, sequels, and remakes that abound in today’s movie industry that original and enjoyable scripts are still out there. Sleepwalk With Me will be available on DVD and Blu-ray next Tuesday, December 18th.
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