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SXSW Review: Sleepwalk with Me

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“Sleepwalk With Me” is an insightful comedy written and directed by (and starring) comedian Mike Birbiglia. The film is based on true stories from Birbiglia’s life, which were adapted into a one-man off-Broadway show and published in his book by the same title.

The film, produced by Ira Glass of This American Life, follows the journey of an aspiring comedian (Birbiglia) in denial about his relationship with his girlfriend Abby (the beautiful Lauren Ambrose), his career, and, most significantly, his sleepwalking disorder.

If you’re familiar with Birbiglia, you’re aware that his style of comedy is less of the standard setup-joke-setup-joke standup about currently events. He tells very personal, intimate stories that build slowly and deliver satisfying, hilarious conclusions – it leaves you more than entertained, you actually feel that you know Birbiglia by the end of his set – and that’s more or less how you’ll feel at the end of “Sleepwalk with Me.”

It’s part comedy, part semi-autobiographical and breaks the fourth wall often to given the viewer the truth behind events, which are of course skewed by Birbiglia’s own point of view. It’s a very honest film, and it doesn’t hurt to have the world’s greatest story editor (Ira Glass) involved in making the film dreamlike, whimsical and touching.

I had a chance to talk with Birbiglia briefly after the screening at SXSW and told him how much I enjoyed the film – it’s one of those experiences where, maybe it wasn’t over-the-top hilarity on the scale of “21 Jump Street” or “Bridesmaids,” but it very intimate and heartfelt.

It was less of a comedy movie and more of a one-on-one conversation with someone who, by the end of it, you felt was a friend. If you’re a fan of stand-up comedy and well-told stories, I think you’ll find something to enjoy in “Sleepwalk with Me.”

And here’s a special sneak peek from the film – check it out!

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