There’s one movie that scares the heck out of me. It scares me so much that I have to watch it backwards because I can’t stand to look at most of it even though I know how it ends. It’s called Sleeping With The Enemy and it’s one of my favorite Julia Roberts films. I continue to watch the movie because in the middle of it the woman, who has faked her death to escape an abusive husband, relocates to Cedar Falls, Iowa and begins a new life with a new name and lives in an old Victorian house in the middle of town. That she is escaping a homicidal maniac is incidental to the more compelling real estate factor. One of my other favorite movies is Baby Boom. What's in it? Real estate. What kind? Farmhouse. There's a movie called Babies that just shows babies. They should make a movie called Farmhouse for people like me. There are other people like me, aren't there?
Any story that provides a big Victorian house with a front porch and original details in the middle of a Midwestern town has me hog tied. If the plot includes abandoning everything you know and moving, I'll watch it exclusively. Most people have that relocation/name change fantasy at least once in their life. Don’t they? Or am I alone in this? I figured out the other day that most of what we do or keep on doing is to preserve the image our close friends and relatives have of us. You don’t want to let anyone down by suddenly deciding to walk across America or sell everything and live under the Williamsburg Bridge.
This is how I would live when I relocate to my Victorian farmhouse in Cedar Falls. First, I’d be thin and wear jeans. I wouldn’t own a car. I’d walk everywhere or take a bus. Every morning, I’d run three miles through a residential neighborhood before heading to my favorite diner for breakfast. I probably would have a part-time job at the library and stop after work for a glass of wine at my favorite bar. I might join a quilting bee. This is pretty much the way I live right now. Minus the running, the thin factor, the part-time job, the quilting bee and willingly leaving the house.
By the way in Cedar Falls, Iowa you can buy a four-bedroom house for $200,000. and the unemployment rate is only 3.3%.The critics hated Sleeping With the Enemy. They called the plot cornball melodrama “constantly on the verge of silliness.” Really? Color me stupid and banal because it scared me and continues to scare me every time I see it on television. On the review site, Rotten Tomatoes it got only 22% on the tomatometer (11% by the top critics) but the audience liked it 65%.