Sleeping with the Enemy

  • Directors: Joseph Ruben
  • Producers: Leonard Goldberg
  • Writers: Nancy Price
  • Genres: Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Julia Roberts, Patrick Bergin, Kevin Anderson

Laura Burney (Julia Roberts) presumably has everything any woman can ever want, a beautiful home, a handsome and wealthy investment counselor husband, and any material pleasure she could desire. However, her marriage is not all that it seems.

Her possessive and abusive husband Martin (Patrick Bergin), is a controlling man who one day interprets her interaction with a neighbor at their beach home as flirting and strikes her in the face and kicks her as she lies helplessly crying on the floor. From further discussions in the course of the movie, we come to understand that the abuse is an ongoing routine which began immediately after marrying.

Laura sees her way out by planning and faking her own death at sea in a storm off Cape Cod near the couple’s luxurious ocean-view home. Martin attends her funeral when her body is not found.

In flashback, we see how she swims to safety, having 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 her husband that her mother 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.

Martin’s face turns to horror and Laura shoots him three times in the chest before dropping the pistol. As a sobbing Laura collapses, Martin grabs her by the hair and points the gun to her face. But when he pulls the trigger, the gun only clicks, as all the cartridges are gone. Martin sags lifelessly to the floor. As Ben slowly wakes up, Laura goes to him and they embrace. The movie ends with a close up of Martin’s body lying in the foreground with Laura’s wedding ring inches from his hand.

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