Julia Roberts is a star. The opening week of Sleeping with the Enemy was a smash because of her appeal to young women and men.
In this film she plays Laura Burney, a beautiful young woman who is physically and psychologically abused by her husband. She lives on Cape Cod in an enormous, expensive glass house which she keeps immaculate per her husband's direction. She lives in fear of offending him and enduring another beating, which he liberally dishes out.
In the most effective scenes she carries out her plot to escape by faking her own drowning at sea. From there she escapes to the Midwest and begins to fall in love with Kevin Anderson, who plays a gentle drama teacher. Of course her deranged husband discovers her plot and begins to stalk her. In the expected final scene she must kill or be killed.
Despite a good beginning, the film is choppy and appears to be made of four separate sequences. It could have been far more effective with better direction and editing. However, it doesn't matter that the film is far from perfect. The audience drawn to this film will love it. They will react when the delicate young woman is punched and kicked by her husband, they will jump in the dark when he chases her and they will cheer when she escapes.
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