Sliding Doors

Dithery, nattering and a bit long for such a conspicuously airy trifle, this fanciful "what if" romance follows London press rep Helen Quilley (Gwyneth Paltrow) as she lives two overlapping lives. Her futures begin diverging when she either does or does not miss the train home after being fired from her agency job. If Helen catches that train, she arrives...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Dithery, nattering and a bit long for such a conspicuously airy trifle, this fanciful "what if" romance follows London press rep Helen Quilley (Gwyneth Paltrow) as she lives two overlapping lives. Her futures begin diverging when she either does or does

not miss the train home after being fired from her agency job. If Helen catches that train, she arrives home to find boyfriend Gerry (John Lynch) having ex-sex with his old girlfriend Lydia (Jeanne Tripplehorn): That's the future in which Helen gets a chic new blond 'do, washing that man right out

of her hair. If she misses it, she gets mugged and taken to the hospital, a delay that allows Gerry's betrayal to go undetected -- at least for the moment -- and Helen's locks to remain a mousy brown (in this guise, Paltrow's resemblance to '70s sexploitation starlet Lynn Lowry is positively

uncanny). As a showcase for Paltrow -- which is what double roles, not to mention those demanding accents, are all about -- the film's a triumph: She gets to laugh, flirt, cry, scheme, take charge, take to her bed, get hammered, get motivated and dress up in a variety of fabulous outfits. But

unkind though it may be to say, Helen is a rather slight personality around which to spin such an elaborate narrative prank, and the supporting characters are strident one-note wonders: Supportive, no-nonsense best friend Anna (Zara Turner); hysterical harpie Lydia; nice guy James (John Hannah),

the new boyfriend; and, of course, waffling jerk Gerry. In the end it all feels like much ado about nothing much.

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Dithery, nattering and a bit long for such a conspicuously airy trifle, this fanciful "what if" romance follows London press rep Helen Quilley (Gwyneth Paltrow) as she lives two overlapping lives. Her futures begin diverging when she either does or does n… (more)

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