Sleepwalk with Me

Sleepwalk with Me

Much of the best comedy derives from personal pain, and comic turned filmmaker MikeBirbigliadeftly transposes his stand-up routine to the big screen. In its world premiere here at Sundance, Sleepwalk With Me charmed a morning packed-house, not an easy room to play.

As a great comic elder once said: “A relationship is like a shark. Either it moves forward or it dies.” That's what long-term relationship couple Matt (Birbiglia) and Abby (Lauren Ambrose) have on their hands. He's a comedian/bartender with, at most, 11 minutes of tolerable material. She a go-getter who sees them as a married couple, but doesn't want to confront her commitment-phobic partner.

Matt's small-club routine is stale until he stumbles into telling his own relationship woes: The audience howls, and he expands his act. Now, he actually plays to appreciative crowds, but the home front is not amused. His controlling, physician Dad (James Rebhorn) hectors him to confront a serious sleep disorder and get on with a real life, while his dithering mother (Carol Kane) pushes the marriage program.

Birbiglia's deft, breezy treatment of a serious relationship disorder, as well as a serious neurological sleeping problem, jells wonderfully. The comedy percolates in large part because of the likable lead performances of Birbiglia, whose easy self-deprecating ways overcoats Matt's character flaws. As his steadfast partner, Ambrose is a zesty antidote, who swallows her pain with perky resolve.

The parents are a hilarity: Carol Kane is a hoot as Matt's nattering mother and Rebhorn is amusingly cantankerous as the domineering dad.

Credit to co-writers Birbiglia and Ira Glassfor the frothy distillation of one man's pain. Birbiglia and co-directorSeth Barrishkeep the comedy from tilting into pathos, while maintaining a steady hand on the complex relationship issues which inspire the mirth.

The technical contributions are tops, from editor Geoffrey Richman's invigorating pace to cinematographer Adam Beckman's comic eye for framing. Credit costume designer Ciera Wells for Matt's apt, hang-dog duds.

— D. Byrge, Hollywood Reporter

Sleepwalk with Me

Mon & Tue October 8 & 9, 2012, 7:00 & 9:00, Muenzinger Auditorium

USA, 2012, in English



10 films for $60 with punch card
$9 general admission. $7 w/UCB student ID, $7 for senior citizens
$1 discount to anyone with a bike helmet
Free on your birthday! CU Cinema Studies students get in free.


Pay lot 360 (now only $1/hour!), across from the buffalo statue and next to the Duane Physics tower, is closest to Muenzinger. Free parking can be found after 5pm at the meters along Colorado Ave east of Folsom stadium and along University Ave west of Macky.


Park elsewhere and catch the HOP to campus

International Film Series

(Originally called The University Film Commission)
Established 1941 by James Sandoe.

First Person Cinema

(Originally called The Experimental Cinema Group)
Established 1955 by Carla Selby, Gladney Oakley, Bruce Conner and Stan Brakhage.

C.U. Film Program

(AKA The Rocky Mountain Film Center)
First offered degrees in filmmaking and critical studies in 1989 under the guidance of Virgil Grillo.

Celebrating Stan

Created by Suranjan Ganguly in 2003.

C.U. Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts

Established 2017 by Chair Ernesto Acevedo-Muñoz.

Thank you, sponsors!
Boulder International Film Festival
Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts

Looking for a gift for a friend?
Buy a Frequent Patron Punch Card for $60 at any IFS show. With the punch card you can see ten films (a value of $90).

Cover art for Spring 2 2022
Virtual titles to stream from home

Cox & Kjølseth
: Filmmaker Alex Cox & Pablo Kjølseth discuss film topics from their own unique perspectives.

: Pablo and Ana share Zoom-based briefs on what's currently playing at IFS

Sprocket Damage
: Sprocket Damage digs deep(ish) into current and classic films and film-related subjects to bring to you insightful, humorous, and enlightening perspectives on the industry.

Search IFS schedules

Index of visiting artists