whileyouweresleeping01CAT OF THE DAY 055: WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING (1995)

I was convinced Sandra Bullock had a cat in The Net until recently, when I watched it again and saw no, she just had a computer. However, this pretty much performed most of the functions of a cat in the film, enabling her, a single woman living on her own, to talk out loud and provide exposition when there was no-one else physically present in the room. But a computer falls short in some of the other ways by which a cat’s presence can enhance a film – cute reaction shots, for example, or the visual dynamic of the feeding ritual.

Perhaps I was thinking all along of this Bullock rom-com that came out the same year, her first starring vehicle after Speed and one that put the seal on her adorable, slightly klutzy, slightly geeky girl-next-door persona. Bullock plays Lucy, a single woman so lonely that when the family of a comatose man mistakenly assumes she’s his fiancé, she plays along with the charade so she can spend time with them.

And of course, Lucy has the ultimate signifier of the single woman – a cat. Its name is Fluffy. Sure enough, she talks to Fluffy when there’s no-one else around, and every so often we get some cute reaction shots.

Interestingly, the other major single female character in the film – Coma Guy’s real fiancée – also has a cat, which in this context fills a CATGUFFIN function by providing Lucy with a reason to go to Coma Guy’s apartment to feed it, leading to some comedy business there with his brother (Bill Pullman). This is important for the story because Lucy and the brother (you know it as soon as he walks on the screen, so it’s hardly a spoiler) will eventually get together, but in the meantime it’s not that easy finding narrative pretexts for them to run into each other.


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  1. Searched this blog specifically to see if WYWS was included. You didn’t let me down!

    However, Lucy’s cat’s name is “Mal” or something like that (it sounds like “Mal” when she calls to him). “Fluffy” is the name of Peter’s fiancée’s cat (she reads it off the cat’s collar tag), when Jack (Bill Pullman) first runs into her in Peter’s apartment.

    Love this blog!

    • annebillson says:

      Thank you for the WYWS catname precision! Much appreciated. When I get a moment I will change the post to incorporate your observations. Perhaps I should start a virtual Cats on Film award to reward such services to movie catwatching!

  2. ecstaticnoise says:

    I just discovered this blog and it’s fantastic! When you mentioned “The Net” and possibly featuring cats, I immediately thought of Richard Donner’s “Assassins,” another 1995 semi-cyber-thriller that involves an awkward and isolated female hacker (this time Julianne Moore), that gets in over her head, but, unlike Sandra Bullock, has a cat who occasionally takes part in the plot. There are some pretty great cat scenes, especially when hacker lady, her cat, and one of the titular assassins go on the run. Incidentally, the first Wachowski scripted film, although apparently they tried to have their names removed from it due to changes made, which makes one wonder who decided on the cat subplot. Have you seen it?

    • annebillson says:

      Hi, sorry for the delay in replying, but thanks for your comment. I saw Assassins a L-O-N-G time ago, and didn’t like it much, but now you have mentioned the cat I shall have to watch it again! Maybe I’ll like it more the second time around.

      Also, no film in which Julianne Moore goes on the run with her cat can be all bad!

  3. Phil says:

    You got it all wrong. She does have a cat. But she goes to Peters place and calls his cat “fluffy”.when she talks to HER cat at her place she refers to him as “mou” thinking mouse possibly. You should actually watch the movie. Lol

    • annebillson says:

      Believe it or not, I did watch the movie (albeit not recently). I’m not in the habit of writing about movies I haven’t seen.

      Someone has already pointed out this mistake about the cat’s name in an earlier post. Perhaps you should read the other comments before posting the same information. Lol.

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