I had been meaning to see Sliding Doors for a very long time. Sure the concept was gimmicky but that did not stop me from wanting to see it. Basically in the end I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Is it a great movie? No. There are definitely issues with it. One is that I never felt Gwenyth Paltrow’s character has a distinct personality at all. Since we see her throughout the movie dealing with two different situations, characterization is sacrificed for the concept. Yeah she is strong, was a notable PR worker and…well that’s all I got. She clearly has tolerance since her boyfriend throughout one of the stories does nothing all day even though he’s “writing his first novel”. She supports him and I guess just deals with him being a lazy douche. For me another issue was that it was hard for me to keep track by the end. My mother and best friend were pretty good with that part of the film so I guess I was having a dumb day.
The good stuff? I enjoyed the two stories as parallels. Each complimented itself with the other and brought additional interest when looked at the other. In fact it is only as parallels that these stories are enjoyable and that might be where the real problem lies. If you are getting bored with one story you do not have to worry because pretty soon you will be watching a different story. Even though I truly enjoyed the film I cannot deny that each of the stories separately offers absolutely nothing new to the romantic film genre. They each have good scenes on their own, but if you take one of the stories as one film, it does not work at all. Which in conclusion means it relies too much on its gimmick.
As I said before, there are good things about the movie. One is that I personally had a lot of fun watching it despite its flaws. While I find the way Paltrow does her English accent kind of phony even if it’s good, I still think Paltrow during this period of her career has an energy and presence that makes the film very watchable. All of the performances are good. John Hannah is an interesting choice for the love interest but he and Paltrow had chemistry that I bought and he was enjoyable to watch as well. John Lynch does a great job as the boyfriend who is unwillingly as he would put it cheating on Paltrow. I think seeing some stuff from his point of view and knowing where he was coming from even if it did not excuse him made him the most unique character in the film for me. Instead of trying to give Jeanne Tripplehorn’s character a perspective, they just decided it was easier to make her evil incarnate with a penchant for going off on ridiculous extended metaphors.
A few other observations:
- It is pretty annoying how unaware she is in one of the stories that he is cheating on her considering how horrible this guy is at covering for himself.
- John Hannah’s character, while charming, basically extends to being the nice guy as Tripplehorn’s extends to being total bitch.
- Lydia appearing at the window; what the hell is with this woman?
Other notes are that the multiple references to Monty Python got annoying, the soundtrack was pretty bad but lovingly wreaked of late 90’s, I liked Paltrow’s friend in the film. I also enjoyed that as we past the hour mark I was very confused as to what was going to happen in the rest of the film. So overall, while I personally enjoyed watching the film and I certainly o not think it is a bad film, it is hard to deny that the film’s success is essentially directly because of the concept and the star presence of Paltrow.