The Sleepless – two insomniacs randomly meet, and explore late night New York City together
In The Sleepless, Sophia can’t sleep. Neither can Zach. Both have gotten far too used to it. When the pair meet each other randomly at 3AM, in the only spot nearby open for coffee, sparks don’t necessarily fly. With a gentle nudge from bodega owner Samir, and with nothing better to do, Zach and Sophia decide to amble together through the predawn hours until she has to leave for her breakfast shift. Although Sophia is guarded and Zach appears weary, each seems to instantly connect to the other. At the end of their hours together, the question remains: Will there be another date, or will their respective hangups sink the possibility for romance?
Starring Nyambi Nyambi as Zack (The Good Fight, Mike & Molly) and Rebecca De Ornelas as Sophia (The Videoblogs, Naked), The Sleepless touches upon resonant topics such as mental health, addiction, gender dynamics, and the nonsense choices people make when bringing items to a deserted island. In his second feature film, Michael DiBiasio (The Videoblogs) captures the predawn streets of New York City, while seamlessly weaving themes of insomnia and mental health into this romantic comedy.
While the premise of The Sleepless maybe around the topic of insomnia, this single camera feature that’s shot entirely in B&W may have the opposite effect on you. It’s slow moving from the start, and unfortunately the dialogue between the two principle characters doesn’t much improve as the movie prods along.
The pair meet at their local bodega where each is grabbing a coffee at 4am because they couldn’t sleep. So, a coffee is suppose to help that? Zach waits outside the store and approaches Sophia as she exits, eventually asking her to walk around NYC in the middle of the night with him. Obviously, she has concerns, yet after a couple pre-jitter details she agrees.
Once the walk begins, Sophia’s anger and bitterness toward men, and the world in general begins as a non-stop chatter about all that’s wrong with society. She’s obviously unhappy with where she is in life. Zach on the other hand is soft-spoken and accepting, taking everything in stride, despite most anyone else who would likely have given up and made a fast exit. What happens is 90-minutes of chit-chat on a variety of topics, mostly from Sophia, and then the movie ends. We’re left wondering what will become of these two. The same as viewers will be left wondering, what the hell did I just watch.
Available April 27, 2021 on Amazon Prime Video
Director’s Statement – Michael DiBiasio
“I couldn’t sleep for a year. Insomnia had always been a problem for me, but never one that lasted more than a couple of days at once. This time, I had to seek help. Now, I sleep. Most of the time. And yet I often wake up very early, having slept five or six hours. It’s peaceful, most of the time. It can also feel lonely. Alienating.
One day I was up before 4AM and needed coffee and didn’t have any. I sought out the closest place where I could find some. Just that week, I had also been studying low-light digital photography, and what was now capable with some ingenuity and willingness.
Then I emerged into the morning for that caffeine, and felt my neighborhood slowly — very slowly — stirring around me, and the idea came to me.
What if two people met under these circumstances? The predawn hours can be so raw, and yet so simple. What if…such a pair also took a chance on each other? And what if I chose a low-light camera and some fine actors and took a chance on this idea?
What came of all this is The Sleepless, a meditative, funny exploration of one of those odd spaces in life, inhabited as such by our two insomniacs, Zach and Sophia. I hope you enjoy it.”
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.