I’ve often felt that there was a very important part of relationships that nobody talks about. They don’t talk about it in real life and they certainly don’t talk about it in movies and that is that sometimes (and maybe a lot of the time) the circumstances surrounding your relationships dictate how those relationships end up more than the participants. It’s a sadly unromantic reality of two people trying to share a life when both have things they want individually.
Mike Birbiglia’s new movie Sleepwalk With Me is a mostly truthful account of his development as a stand-up comedian, his battle with a sleep disorder that causes him to act out his dreams, and his relationship with his long term girlfriend. Birbiglia wrote the movie with Ira Glass (of This American Life pseudo-fame), directed it himself, and stars as a not even veiled version of himself, Matt Pandamiglio. Lauren Ambrose is his girlfriend of 8 years, Abby.
I went into the movie for the stand-up comedy. I’ve been a Birbiglia fan for years and hearing that he wrote and directed a movie about his development as a comedian sounded great. A cameo by Marc Maron in the trailer? I was all in. That side of the story is great. The thing I was surprised to have enjoyed as much as I did was the story of Matt and Abby. The level of honesty in the storytelling is rare and is becomes a big part of the movie. Having Maron as the comic wise man was perfect.
Most of the movie was perfect. It’s a first feature film but having gone through so many stages (as stand-up routine, one-man show, and Birbiglia’s own reality) it feels assured. It comes through. It’s in very limited release right now but if you’re capable of seeing it, please do.