Sliding Doors is a unique British rom-com and a personal favourite of mine as it tells not just one but two cliché stories in a truly interesting way.
I first saw Sliding Doors several years ago when for a University assignment I was hunting for non-chronological films, although the film is technically chronological it still impressed me with its charm and its attempt at being original.
The film stars Gwyneth Paltrow as Helen, who loses her job and then misses a tube train in one reality, whereas in a second she catches said train. From here the film splits in two inter-linked parts where we see different futures for Helen with mixed results in each. Although both stories if told alone would be extremely boring and obvious to an audience the films use of dual-narrative allows both to become unexpectedly interesting leading to a climax which always surprises me in its emotional power.
What helps this power is strong performances from its cast and a very dry wit that is highly amusing. Paltrow as a lead is so ridiculously sarcastic it’s hard not to love her and the contrast between her and the two love interests James (John Hannah) and Gerry (John Lynch) is wonderful to watch. Hannah’s character is chatty and constantly referencing popular culture – specifically Monty Python and the Beatles – whereas Lynch seems to have no idea what he’s doing. This with the addition of ‘bitchy American’ Lydia (Jeanne Tripplehorn) makes for an intriguing love square/octagon (or perhaps three interconnected triangles – depending on how you look at it) that adds a depth to the film.
It is a lovely film to watch that has heart and soul without any of the over-the-top emotions. Yes the film is romantic but not in the usual puffy sort of way, the romance in Sliding Doors is much more intimate and toned down, hidden behind a very British veneer of jokes and alcohol.
Throughout the film Monty Python are often referenced and although ‘Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition’ the audience can see every twist and turn in this film from a mile away, but in a good way.