Sliding Doors (1998) - Details

Sliding Doors

Sliding Doors was a success largely deserved as director/screenwriter Peter Howitt finds an original way to breathe new life into the Brit take on romantic comedy. The flight of fantasy structure sees Helen (Gwyneth Paltrow), a PR. minion sacked for borrowing the office vodka, experience two completely different versions of life by sheer dint of whether or not she catches a train. In version one, she makes the train, hooks up with likeable James (John Hannah) before arriving home early to find live-in lover Jerry (John Lynch) in the sack with brash yank Lydia (Jeanne Tripplehorn); in version two, she just misses the train, gets mugged, arrives home just after Jerry and Lydia have finished their cavorting and continues to carry on the relationship only slightly aware that something is awry. Yet while Howitt gets cute mileage out of intercutting the two alternating realities the cuckolded Helen rebuilds her P. R. career and hesitantly starts a relationship with James, the ignorant Helen begins working in a sandwich shop as Jerry continues to be unfaithful - the fact that the Paltrow/Hannah axis is so enjoyable creates a structural imbalance, resulting in the Paltrow/Lynch plotline feeling somewhat dull. That said, there is loads to like about Sliding Doors; the very notions the story spins-on - the power of fate, that there is someone for everyone - are imbued with a sweet disposition. Paltrow does wonders with the dual role, throwing in a spot on English accent to boot, whereas Hannah breezes through the romantic foil with eminent likeability

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