Joined: 11 April 2010
Laura Burney (Julia Roberts) lives in a beautiful home by the beach on Cape Cod with her husband, Martin (Patrick Bergin), a charmingly handsome and wealthy investment counselor who is also possessive, abusive, and controlling. It becomes clear that he has OCPD (obsessive-compulsive personality disorder), and while she tries to abide by his needs, she seems to suffer under the strain. Martin believes Laura has been flirting with an attractive neighbor, and he physically assaults her as punishment. The abuse is an ongoing routine, which began immediately after their wedding. To escape Martin, Laura, whom Martin believed to be a non-swimmer, plans and fakes her own death at sea in a storm while the couple are boating. Unbeknownst to Martin, she swims to safety, having recently taken swimming lessons at the YWCA. She secretly returns home, retrieves some clothing and cash she had hidden away in preparation, disguises herself, and leaves home after flushing her wedding ring down the toilet.
Laura moves to Cedar Falls, Iowa. In preparation, she has told Martin that her mother, Chloe Williams (Elizabeth Lawrence), died, and pretended to attend the funeral, but secretly she had moved her to a nursing home in Iowa. She rents a modest house and adopts the name Sara Waters. In Cedar Falls, she meets Ben Woodward (Kevin Anderson), who teaches drama at the local college. A relationship develops, but suffers a setback when Ben discovers that her real name is not Sara. After a date, Laura is unable to be physically intimate with Ben, and the next day, she confesses that she is on the run from an abusive husband. Martin receives a chance phone call from a friend of Laura's from the YWCA, learning of Laura's swimming lessons. His suspicions aroused, Martin heads home and finds the ring in the toilet bowl, where it failed to flush. From the Cape Cod nursing home, he learns that Laura's mother is alive, and has her traced to the nursing home in Iowa. He visits the blind woman without revealing his identity and learns from her that Laura is seeing a college drama teacher in Cedar Falls.
Martin finds Laura and Ben at a local fair, then follows her to her home. After leaving idiosyncratic clues around the house for Laura to find, Martin confronts Laura. Ben appears at the door and Martin, brandishing a gun, threatens to kill Ben if she doesn't make him leave. Laura talks to Ben and he appears to leave, but then breaks down the door and struggles with Martin, who knocks him unconscious. As he aims the gun at Ben, Laura distracts and attacks Martin, who drops the gun, and she manages to take control of it; she fires at Martin but misses. Martin dares her to call the police; Laura calls the police saying that she just killed an intruder. She shoots him three times, Martin falls to the ground, and she drops the pistol. Laura collapses, sobbing, but Martin grabs her and points the gun at her. He pulls the trigger but the gun only clicks empty and Martin sags lifelessly. Ben is revived by Laura and they embrace as Martin's dead body lies on the ground with Laura's wedding ring inches from his hand.
Sleeping with the Enemy had the same storyline of the 1980 Malayalam film Manjil Virinja Pookkal. The film has been remade in India four times, as Yaraana (1995), Daraar (1996), Agni Sakshi (1996) and Koi Mere Dil Se Poochhe (2002), all in Hindi. The Tamil film Aval Varuvalaand Telugu film "Pelli" also seem to be inspired by Sleeping with the Enemy. There is also a remake in Pakistan called Khilona (1997) starring Meera and Shaan.
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