But "Philadelphia" doesn't handle that transitional scene with lame dialogue or soppy extrusions of sincerity. Instead, in a brilliant and original scene, Hanks plays an aria from his favorite opera, one he identifies with in his dying state. Washington isn't an opera fan, but as the music plays and Hanks talks over it, passionately explaining it, Washington undergoes a conversion of the soul. What he sees, finally, is a man who loves life and does not want to leave it. And then the action cuts to Washington's home, late at night, as he stares sleeplessly into the darkness, and we understand what he is feeling.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING has an old-fashioned feel. While it's patterned after the classic romantic comedies of the 1930s and 1940s ( It Happened One Night , The Philadelphia Story ), it's not up to the lofty standards of these predecessors. Still, the movie's clever writing, gentle humor, and strong performances make up for its shortcomings. It is a good choice for parents to watch with their older kids, because there's something here to appeal to both generations. A 14-year-old viewer identified with the main character's romantic longings, and her adult companion liked the movie's light humor and happy resolution.