Sleepless in Seattle : Guilty in Chicago (5000 words)
Damn, I’ve been exploring incestuous subtexts for more than a month now and I’m starting to feel depressed and tired. I don’t know why it suddenly came to me because I don’t think I’ve ever explored these ideas before when they’re not more difficult to spot than any others. I think that for some reason, I changed. Maybe it was when I realised that Forrest Gump’s idiocy hugged his mother’s expectations tightly and that he is a victim of her on the same level as Jenny is a victim of her dad. Yeah, I know, Forrest’s mother is the most loving mother that ever was, she loves him so much that she would totally enjoy having him next to her in their giant house until the end of her life. In an incestuous relationship, isn’t excessive “love” part of the problem ? And where’s the father ? Oh. There isn’t one. Surprising.
So really, I’ve been in a peculiar mind-set since that idea on Forrest Gump and what it made me discover, as interesting as it was, was depressing too. I’d like to move on to lighter interpretations, stuff like “Obiwan killed Luke’s parents” or “Tony Stark is a psychopath who wilfully creates his own arch-enemies in order to surpass himself with no consideration whatsoever for the consequences on people’s lives.” Funny stuff you see !
But as I’ve been focussed on incestuous subtexts for the last month, and I believe from now on I won’t be able to blind myself to them anymore, well, I’ve got another one I’d like to talk about because it’s a really disquieting one.
In L’Etranger or Terminator, you’re somewhat ready for the morbid reveal. But when you start watching Sleepless in Seattle, you seriously don’t expect the movie to be that creepy.
Edit: this video about sexually abusive mothers will help you understand how believable my interpretation is.
Beforehand I’d like to point at elements that already make the movie totally strange in the first place.
Usually with romantic comedies, the two leads meet, hate each other, are involved in a specific plot that brings them together against their will, even forces them to co-operate, slowly they learn to understand each other, appreciate their skills and qualities, even learn that behind the façade of cynicism or insensitivity there truly was feelings, and start liking each other until they reach the moment at which they would like to enter a relationship, at this precise moment, something from the beginning comes back to mess things up and someone has to run after someone else for love to win in the end.
Of course, any given romantic comedy will try to subvert this structure to a certain extent but will also humbly respect it. Sleepless in Seattle was applauded for its radical decision to have the two main characters only meet in the last scene. But seriously, how could this not turn out to be an utterly stupid idea ? If there is one thing that can bring romantic comedies down, it’s magical love; magical in that it doesn’t have any reason to be. When I watch a romantic comedy, I want to see the exact opposite. I want to see relationships that make sense. I want to see developed characters. I want to understand why they love each other and feel happy for them.
The sole element that justifies the romantic ending of Sleepless in Seattle is that Annie Reed (Meg Ryan) reminds Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) of his dead wife and that for some unknown reason he should know “it’s her.” The magical aspect of the encounter is developed beforehand and we are supposed to believe, if we want to believe in the happy ending, that this is meaningful. Sam looks at Annie and he knows he loves her just like he loved his wife. And he takes her hand, just like he did with his wife. How creepy is that ?
Plus, if there is one kind of love story that I loathe it’s those who make you believe that beauty is more than beauty. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have reacted like that with an unremarkable looking woman. Sam’s wife wouldn’t have reincarnated inside of Becky. No, he finds her inside an angel looking woman like Meg Ryan. These “signs” that Annie is looking for everywhere, are called “narcissistic delusions.” Ask your average looking female friend, she doesn’t see signs everywhere, she has to take responsibility for her behaviours and nothing great happens to her for no reason.
But well, it’s not as if I took the ending seriously or as if I believed the movie did.
That’s another thing that makes it weird. There is no point at which this very superficial ending is made out to be anything more than stupid, childish and somewhat morbid. It’s slowly built, brick by brick until it’s undoubtedly there and happens before your very eyes, but the movie never exactly tries to make you believe that it’s beautiful or positive. It’s just there really.
Suzy is secretly in love with Samuel but ruins any chance she might ever have had by showing how ridiculously moved she can be by "chick flicks." What does that tell you about the foundations of the relationship between Annie and Samuel ?
As usual in romantic comedies, the second lead is to be rejected when the woman decides to follow her heart or something like that. It's there to underline an evolution on her side. But in Sleepless in Seattle it's there to have you wonder what the hell is wrong with her in the first place. The relationship is too obviously morbid not to completely discredit Annie Reed. Not because she is blind to the absurdity, but because they actually might not be as mismatched as they seem to be.
Annie Reed is a pathetic woman from the start and until the end. She falls in love with a man on the radio because he is sad to have lost his wife and he can be sarcastic and answer “sure you do” to a hypocritical claim. Period. During the whole film we have to witness the appalling sight of women strongly fancying this guy mainly because he lost his wife and seemed to love her, and Annie Reed is the worst of them. She is not the one who is drawn into this accidentally; she is the one who will take the most numerous and debasing initiatives to get to him. Her story with Walter is painful to watch because it underlines how desperate she is to find a husband. I respect Walter but it is obvious from the start that Annie and him have no reason to be together (actually they have, he represses the existence of women's libido as much as Annie does) and he has a few issues to deal with before he tries to settle for a wife.
From the first minute of the movie you know that Walter cannot make a woman happy, but their relationship will take until the end before she finally finds the "strength" to break up. Her reason ? There's a man somewhere who was in love with his wife and she died.
There’s no point in the movie at which we should side by Annie. She is stupid and ridiculous and the fact that her initiative eventually pays off is not a sign that she was right to take it.
From Sam’s point of view it’s even worse as he actually had a life beyond that final encounter. He is dating a perfect woman who happens to laugh maniacally because she craves for love making. And when I say “perfect” I don’t mean it in a “she is the perfect woman” way, I mean it in the “she is earthly and nice, and she likes him, she has guts and dignity and there’s no reason why he should want to ditch her.” She admits that she was hoping that he would call her. She admits that she wants to have sex with him. She takes the initiative of kissing him. She tells him that his kid is a pain although she makes efforts not to be too critical. She truly is a very engaging person who simply might lack a little bit of self-esteem or confidence that which makes her laugh a bit too loudly because she is embarrassed to be so aroused. Sam Baldwin is clearly interested in her enough to see beyond her laugh.
So when she disappears from the movie without an ending scene it is very shocking. I don’t understand how this movie didn’t get more hate for that specific reason. Because most female spectators vainly identify with the Meg Ryan look-alike psychopath ? and not with the flawed but charming and courageous woman ? Seriously, If you find Meg Ryan one bit charming in this movie you really need to… well I don’t know…you need to realise that she really is not !
On top of the fact that the unbelievable love story is made unbelievable and weird, another strange aspect of the movie is that as Annie and Sam only meet in the last two minutes, everything before seems overdeveloped for the sake of filling up time. Usually in a romantic comedy, the scenes that you’re interested in the most are the scenes in which both leads are reunited, and the ones involving the soon to be rejected boyfriend and girlfriend are of course, (most of the time) less agreeable.
What do you do when every single scene of your movie feels like a parenthesis to the main story line ? An obstacle to the movie you came to see ?
The irony in the existence of this pic is... very big. (As the movie is about how morbid it is to fall in love with an empty movie line). And I love the tiny incestuous touch in "wisdom to my kids," already invading the mind of your children with meaningless crap to heal your egotistic wounds.
So really, if you watch Sleepless in Seattle like a common romantic comedy that ends with a happy ending to which you should cheer, it doesn’t work one bit. Watch the critics on Rotten Tomatoes, they don’t know what to do with it.
If truly the ending of the story is plain stupid and the movie itself calls out on it we can honestly wonder what it is all about.
Well… sit tight… and buckle on. And maybe put on a helmet… and take a few anti-depressant pills… and a vodka. Sleepless in Seattle is… about… pedophilia, incest and murder. We’re here treading murky waters closer to a Stephen King book than to a sequel to When Harry Met Sally…
I think that there is a key element that should be underlined again before I dive into the morbid: Annie Reed is truly some sort of a clone of Sam’s wife. It’s very important to accept that when he sees her at the top of the Empire State Building he truly has this magical feeling that he had with his wife. His son truly found some sort of copy of his mother.
In this movie, Tom Hanks’ acting isn’t always spot on. I thought it was bad acting at first but now that I’ve seen the movie several times I isolated the four specific moments at which Hanks is bad, and these moments are all related to the death of his wife.
It’s actually pretty suicidal (of Nora Ephron) to have opened the movie with this cold, inappropriate and awkward monologue that Sam gives to his son on the day of the burial of his mother. “Mommy got sick. And it happened just like that. There’s nothing anybody could do. It isn’t fair. There’s no reason. But if we start asking why. We’ll go crazy.”
Well, this isn't awkward in the least. I see Jonah and Samuel can expect a lot of support in their grief. (I'm talking about the way the son and his dad are placed opposite to the other characters)
Soon after, there is that strange scene at the office when Sam tries to pretend that he is a heartbroken man who purposely drowns himself into work so that he forgets about the pain. Both scenes really convey a sense of strong clumsiness and unmastered tone.
"Don't mind him, he's just a guy who lost his wife" says Samuel about himself. Very interesting use of the third person here. He tells his friend how he wants to be perceived, and how much he wants to be left alone, but without acknowedging the fact that he is talking about himself. He cannot say "I lost my wife."
Then, there’s the falsely angry “and maybe I’ll grow a new heart” at the airport which rings precisely hollow. And eventually, there’s this awful reaction when, after having had a nightmare, Jonah complains that he is forgetting his mother and the father just goes “awwww…” as if she was on a week-end and there was nothing tragic in what the kid had just said.
Let’s not beat around the bush for too long: Sam killed his wife. He isn’t sad that she is dead. He is relieved.
The people at the office know it and that’s why he gets a hundred support cards… because he so obviously doesn’t need support. These cards are accusations. Just like the first shot of the movie shows how separated Jonah and Sam are from the rest of the people who grieve Maggie’s death. This first shot shows how Chicago is marked by the death of Maggie, but also by the idea that Sam murdered her. He is now alone in a bubble with his kid.
Think about the screenplay for a second. The movie is about a man who loses his wife, is heartbroken and eventually finds the perfect woman to replace her. Where is the wife’s death scene ? Where are the tearjerking ones ? When does Sam crack down and start crying, and tell his best friend that it’s so hard, so unbearable… where is the scene where he rejects a superhot female friend because “I’m not over Maggie yet, I’m sorry.” Of course, it would have made the movie a lot harder on the spectators to actually witness the wife’s death but if you really want to take the story of a “new found love” seriously, it was a necessary element. Not only do we not witness it, but we’re not even told the reason of her death. It is suggested and at the same time contradicted that Maggie died of cancer that which is exactly how you hide a more sinister truth. The stereotypical “clean” death that such a movie needed was a car accident, plane crash or anything amoral, unpredictable and quickly suggested with a scene that cuts before the tragic event takes place.
Sam gets a card for a help group for people who lost someone to cancer. But it’s actually never said that she died of the disease and that card is amongst other ridiculous ones of which Sam is already making fun. His boss suggests that he takes a holiday; Sam decides to move in in another city… the furthest possible one from Chicago without leaving the U.S.A.. He argues that he wants to be in a city where he doesn’t see Maggie at each street corner. The thing is, there are many many cities like that near Chicago. There is absolutely no reason to go as far as Seattle, and there normally should be reasons not to go that far, like family ? Grand-parents ? In laws ? Friends ?
When Annie Reed makes researches on Sam through the archives of the Nexus City News Bureau, she finds much suspicious information. First, his wife obituary doesn’t say anything about how she died and specifies that “In lieu of flowers contributions should be sent to Chicago Horticultural Society.” Of course, we can imagine that Maggie loved horticulture. But if she died of cancer, cancer research would have been a bit more appropriate. Isn’t horticulture absolutely insignificant compared with the feeling that your beloved one will be missed by many ? And more, how come Samuel simply doesn’t want any flowers to be sent to the burial ?
The information that Annie gets on the Samuel Baldwins of Chicago are peculiar too.
The two first Samuel Baldwins were criminals in the 60s. The one she’s looking for at the present is just an architect and there’s a recordman of Javelot Toss. I could say that the two criminals are just there to make you consider the idea. But truly I think this list is a lot more incriminating. The time indicators and similar names spontaneously make you look at it as a chronology: 61, 67, present time, future. Criminal, innocent, recordman. It just infers that by leaving Chicago, Samuel performed a stunt that allowed him to remain that “Samuel Baldwin, architect” contrary to the two other guys who got caught. I’m not saying this proves anything ! Not at all, I’m just saying that these elements were created, that a screenwriter decided to put there two criminal, a recordman and, according to me, a guy who’s escaped murder accusations and that it feels coherent that way.
Nice sexist double-standard. Annie gets information from four different sources in order to find Samuel, she goes as far as hiring a private eye to follow him around. She even dares spy on his day at the beach with Jonah. But it's fine, we all know that women are harmless, innocent and pure, they can be creepy stalkers because it's only wrong when it's men and they want to have sex with their target. I'm truly making a serious point here, we accept Annie's unacceptable behaviour on the ground that she is a woman (= not a sex predator) and is not looking for sex (because an angel). The movie puts you in the same situation as Samuel, are you going to make the same mistake of believing that her motivations are selfless and innocent?
In the same vein there’s Becky’s joke about the guy from the show being a chainsaw murderer. And there’s Sam Baldwin’s sleeplessness. Sleeplessness isn’t a common indicator of grief but of guilt.
Of course, the main element that we need in order to truly consider the idea that Samuel Baldwin killed his wife is a motive… as an “architect,” I’m sure he’s got the perfect skills to “plan” a murder.
If we take a look at the themes that are problematized in the movie, we’ll see that the main one is women’s libido. Annie Reed and Maggie Baldwin are asexual angels. That’s why Samuel is fascinated by both of them, he is naïve on that matter. Walter, the guy that Annie is about to marry, doesn’t make love to her, as she says “sex is like clockwork” between them. He is always bringing his mother and grand-mother in the equation. He hasn’t been able to make his sexuality his own, which is why he is always ill. These are psychosomatic symptoms of his subconscious sexual dissatisfaction. Annie wants a love story similar to the one of a movie with Cary Grant, who was homosexual.
As we can see at the diner at the beginning of the film, Annie cannot reach sexual maturity because she is still her dad’s (who completely ignores Walter). She cannot become autonomous sexually otherwise she would betray him.
Her brother is still incapable of considering himself an eligible man, he is emasculated by his dad. At the end of the movie, when Annie tells poor Walter to look at “a sign” through the window, her libido is repressed to the point of absolute abstraction. A sign is a linguistic tool. She is desperately looking for “love” and is so disoriented that a heart on a building becomes something of importance to her. That’s how lost she is. She is incapable of the smallest introspection on the matter of desire. It’s not a coincidence that the heart should be on the Empire Phallic Building. She has convinced herself that she was looking for love, but what she truly wants is a giant erect penis.
So, on the one hand you have a group of women who are incapable of confessing themselves that they have a libido and who look for desperate and corny love stories because they redirect their repressed sex drive on “innocent” elements of meaning that thus become as attractive (just like the idea that a widower makes a perfect romantic catch). And on the other hand you have a man who is ready to believe that these women aren’t delusional and crazy, a man who believed in the existence of the spotless angel that he married until he discovered the ugly truth.
And by the way, the two sole appearances of Maggie Baldwin are striking with their lack of sensuality. In the first one, Sam and her just high five and in the second, she proposes a toast to them, for god sake’s ! Proposing a toast to your own couple is love making, or at least kissing. You don’t take a glass of Champaign and go: “I’m so happy to be with you ! Our couple is such a success ! Let’s sign for another year !” The best part is that Samuel asks her “what did you used to say ?” It was a habit that she has ! “Here’s to us !”
You have a woman who is asexuality incarnate, and a man who’s ready to believe in this angel, what’s bound to happen is that at some point something is gonna happen: he is going to discover that she truly is a dirty woman who loves sex ! The problem is that, tragically, he learns it when he discovers that she’s raped their eight years old son.
And so, he murders her and when he realises that people do not buy the story he’s made up, he flees at the other end of the country. Now, he’s there alone with his son wondering what went wrong and what was wrong with her or with him. He misses what he now considers an illusion. He misses the woman he thought she was. But he doesn’t forget what she did, obviously. And so when his son complains that he is forgetting his mother, Sam just tells him: “Well, she could skin an apple in one slice.” Wahou. I’m sure the boy is reassured; he’s never going to forget his mother with that kind of acute details. Don’t you have better memories than this ? Any pictures ? No ? She was just a good skinner of apples ? By the way, what does that tell you sexually speaking => that she was good at frustrating him. She didn’t bite the apple, she skinned it forever.
The problem now, is that Samuel Baldwin has a son who is more experienced sexually than he is. Maggie cheated on her husband with her eight years old son. Jonah knows a side of his mother that she never showed to Samuel. The boy has the upper hand, he has authority over his father.
Jonah talks about sex with his dad as if they were the same age. He even gets to learn how many women Samuel has made love with.
Just listen to how he talks about sex and you’ll know that something happened. And more, what do you think about his girlfriend ? Why do you think Samuel slams the door of his room only to reopen it discreetly with a worried expression ? He is scared of what is going to happen in this room.
When Jonah calls the radio show, he is looking for a mother for his dad, but he might also be looking for a sex partner. He doesn’t know that what happened is abnormal. And actually he most certainly represses it. But the bluntness with which he takes initiatives that put his father in very embarrassing situations are revealing, and the way he treats him like a child too. Samuel starts showing signs of impatience when the host asks him why he hasn’t been dating other women. He could say: “because I don’t feel like it” or “because I still miss my wife” or “because I would have the feeling that I’m cheating on my wife” or “this is none of your business,” or he could hung up. Instead he is embarrassed and changes the topic clumsily.
What makes Samuel so attractive to her, is simply his description of love. She is desperately drawn to him, not because of his personnality which she doesn't know anything about, but because of the (false) description he gives of his feelings for a woman. She wants to be that woman. She wants someone to have these exact feelings for her. Is it that surprising that Samuel should be acting at that precise moment ? Is it surprising that Annie, the woman who is described as a woman who wants to be in love in a movie, should desperatly fall for a guy precisely when he is acting ?
Now, there’s something very important going on here. If Samuel murdered his wife (and he did) that conversation with Doctor Martia could backlash violently if it is unconvincing (People from Chicago might be listening). So he tells this wonderful and tragic love story that will bring thousands of desperate women to fall in love with him simply in order to avoid awaking suspicions. And when does he start telling this story ? Just after Jonah tells America that “daddy doesn’t sleep at night.”
Samuel states: “Jonah needs his mother.” He still doesn’t talk about missing his wife. And the host answers with this wonderful question: “Could it be that you need someone just as much as Jonah does ?” Jonah is put on the same level as his father sexually speaking. The movie is filled with lines and situations in which women forget to make a difference between Jonah and his father.
Because of this worrying event (and the reception of hundreds of love letters) Samuel starts looking for a girlfriend. Why disqualifying the letters ? On the radio, he just said that he was a widower, and that his wife was great.
If he had talked honestly on the phone, the appeal of these letters would have been irrestible. But because he was acting, Samuel cannot take seriously any of the woman who is writing. It's not a principle that makes him reject these letters, they are simply irrelevant. They are not truly adressed to him but to the cinematic role of crushed widower that he gave himself on the phone.
If he is looking for a woman because he is worried about his son, why not giving the letters a chance ? It’s not as if he had completely lied about himself and the women who were writing could only be mistaken. Why not choosing a woman who already knows his situation, and who already sort of like him, instead of going through the ordeal of going back into the world of dating. He actually wonders on screen whether he is still up to date on that department. He has reasons to avoid inflicting this to himself, but he does it nevertheless. The reason is, he is looking for a bodily presence, not words, not signs. He doesn’t want to make the same mistake as with Maggie and he actually makes the right choice with Jessica.
Jonah hates Jessica because she puts things back in order. She is not a stupid crazy **** and an eight years old is an eight years old to her.
Because Jonah is so disrespectul towards Victoria, and intrusive, and impolite, Samuel has to step in as the father.
“Jonah. Listen to me. You don’t know Victoria. I hardly know her myself. She is in fact a mystery to me. She tosses her hair a lot. Now, why does she do this ? I have no idea. Is it a twitch ? Does she need a haircut ? […] These are things I’m willing to get to the bottom of. That is why, I am dating her. […] This is what single people do. They try other people on and see how they fit. But everybody is an adjustment, nobody’s perfect.”
And then, Annie Reed passes by and Samuel goes into rapture and Jonah starts talking about reincarnation. Annie is Maggie’s double.
The thing is, Victoria’s attitude has made Samuel talk to his son the way he should. Samuel has just set Jonah straight thanks to Victoria. Plus, he put a veil on his relation with her, Jonah learns that what happens between adults is none of his business.
Victoria is beautiful, but yeah, she is a bit intimidating. Come on Samuel ! Be a man ! I'm sure she won't hurt you.
Victoria is tossing her hair a lot because she wants Samuel to consider her sexually. The man is learning about women’s libido. He is making giant steps, and it allows him to treat his son like the child he is.
This is the last time we see Victoria in the movie. She is going to be replaced by Maggie 2.0: Annie, another apple skinner. Contrary to Victoria, Annie is aware of the role Jonah plays in Samuel’s desire to find a new girlfriend. And it doesn’t bother her. The kid calls a radio show, he wants his dad to find someone, the radio host wants him to find someone, numerous women from everywhere in America (except Chicago) wants him to find someone, but the fact that the guy himself isn’t interest doesn’t seem to matter. Annie calls, Jonah recorded the message of the answering machine. She searches for a Samuel Baldwin in the computer, there are too many answers (214) for her to find him and she has to overlap information to get to him. What information does she add ? The name of the kid. Samuel doesn’t care about answering any letter, Jonah does it and the childish vocabulary doesn’t stop Annie. She does not connect the dots. She arrives at the Empire State Building and finds… a bag with a teddy bear. She finally meets Samuel Baldwin because he came back for his son’s teddybear, not for her.
Before the final encounter, there’s another one where Samuel finds Jonah at the top of the skyscraper and asks him whether there’s something wrong between them, whether he screwed up their relationship.
Jonah is panicking because his dad spends time with a woman whom he doesn’t fancy. He is going through some kind of oedipal stage and he needs to be reassured about the fact that his dad loves him and will be here for him. The kid realises that he needs his dad to be his dad. This also happens thanks to Victoria and because Maggie’s double wasn’t there. However, in the final scene, Jonah speaks more than his father. The roles are mixed up again. Jonah gets his teddybear back but makes the presentation. Samuel has a few adult lines but grabs Annie’s hand and keeps staring at her like a fascinated child would do.
The nightcall scene is written so that we get the impression that Jonah is calling Annie when truly he is calling the radio show and Annie is called by her boss.
Usually it's your sexuel orientation that you hide in the closet, not the fact that you have a sexuality.
Annie shouts because her sex urges are exposed (for whom is ready to see them), Jonah shouts because he witnesses a woman being attracted to his dad (not him). Still, he phones her, they shout together. The love story is as much between the kid and the woman as between the dad and her.
I wouldn’t say that any direct allusion to future sexual abuses are made, but that’s actually all we are spared. First thing, Annie shouldn’t be there. This encounter happens because she is crazy and desperate… seriously, she asks for five minutes alone, to grieve for the missed rendez-vous with a man she doesn’t know anything about and whom she’s never even talked to. More, she failed twice to meet Samuel on healthier grounds. She saw him at the airport by chance and she then went to his house for an interview for her newspaper but she never managed to talk to him. She is incapable of acknowledging her desire.
She is in the middle of a fuc***g road and nearly manages to get killed several time, still she can't find the strength to walk to Samuel and talk to him. She has nothing to say and no way to say it. This initiative of hers means nothing.
She chose a widower because he is a specific kind of target: a man who craves for love, who needs comfort. It’s as if the work was half done. She only has to fill in somebody else’s shoes. The man promises to answer her “needs” just like he answered the one of his wife and she won’t have to voice anything, the previous woman did the job. And yet, she can’t bring herself to talk to him. So, the next level of higher sexual accessibility and harmlessness is the ingenuous child. It’s not as if Walter was anything more than a “grown up” child who needs nurturing.
Any well-balanced woman would have understood that it was the impetuous kid from the radio who had written to her but Annie didn’t. Her need (sex drive) for this story to happen is so big that she won’t want to see the difference between the kid and the father (that was the sole requirement to get there), and she has convinced herself that she is looking for a heart when we know that she is looking for a giant erect penis.
Everything is perfectly set for another tragic sexual abuse of Jonah.
However, the ending is not necessarily pessimistic. It is truly an open ending. Samuel evolved throughout the movie, and the encounter with Annie can very well be perceived as a final test. As she represents the exact double of his wife, he falls into the trap. Samuel is literally fascinated by Annie. This state of fascination will necessarily end at some point, that’s when things will be decided.
Honestly, I think that as soon as he’ll have his feet on the ground, Samuel will realise that he really doesn’t wanna go back with his wife… because that’s the real question. Killing her didn’t mean getting over her and understanding what was wrong about him. He simply did it in order to protect his son. But by the end of the movie, Samuel has grown enough to feel that there’s something wrong with an angelic woman.
Or maybe it’ll take until Victoria comes back and phone him, and he’ll realise that Annie is not half the woman Victoria is.
Edit: I've tried to remove the incest and pedophilia parts from this interpretation and just keep the murder which is already quite a lot to swallow from a romantic comedy. For example, the story would be about a woman who can’t take the responsibility for her libido and who drives her husband nuts with frustration until one day he kills her. Then he has to cope with a kid who was on the same foot has him when it comes to their relationship with the mother. This kid would thus be scared of a woman who is obviously attracted to his father but not him like Victoria and euh… yeah. It works pretty well.
The thing is, the film feels creepier than this. First, I don’t see Samuel killing his wife because she deprives him of sex. He is not ashamed of his own sexuality, he would just cheat on her or leave her. More, his contradictory behaviour -no flowers at the burial, being incapable of talking about her in general, of saying nice things (except when he’s lying on the phone), being happy that his son is forgetting her etc… and at the same time thinking about her once or twice, and being fascinated by her double at the end of the film- this contradictory behaviour to me is the result of a man who has been deeply in love with a woman, who was incredibly disappointed with her, to the point of trauma, and who accepts that he misses an illusion without forgetting that it was just an illusion. (It's a similar situation to getting dumped by a woman who suddenly changes so much that you don't know anymore whether the girl you dated ever existed in the first place even if you miss her horribly).
Also, if the story was only about a murder, the kid wouldn’t take so much room. The story would be more focussed on Samuel’s efforts to learn to know women. Whereas here, there’s a lot about how Annie doesn’t seem to realise that it’s only the kid who is playing the matchmakers. And, the soon to be rejected second love interest wouldn’t be the one to have a positive impact on the relationship between the kid and the dad. And, the kid wouldn’t be so creepy when it comes to sexuality and initiatives taking. He is eight years old. It’s the same age as Kevin in Home Alone, the kid who misses the plane. Here, he takes the plane on his own. And taxis. In New York. He honestly believes that he is older than he actually is.
Anyway, the story doesn’t focus on Samuel and his relationship with women. Jonah is part of the triangle, and if he’s part of the triangle, he’s also part of the sinister subtext => incest and pedophilia.