Reviewer's Rating 4 out of 5   User Rating 4 out of 5
Sliding Doors (1998)
15

Former Bread star Peter Howitt's debut is an engaging romantic comedy about how your path in life can hinge on making or missing that train.

Helen (Paltrow) is fired from her high powered PR job. She catches the tube home, only to discover her boyfriend Gerry (Lynch) in bed with his ex-girlfriend Lydia (Tripplehorn), and promptly leaves him.

A quick cut back to the tube station and an alternative journey begins. Helen is delayed and misses her train, returning home just after Lydia has left remaining blissfully oblivious to the affair. The two Helens' destiny then unfolds with Helen number one re-building her life, flirting with a charming new man (Hannah), and cracking a new career.

Paltrow is delightful as the trendy Londoner running parallel lives and has a disturbingly accurate English accent. With such a fine actress, however, writer/director Howitt could have made more of a distinction between the two Helens - apart from just a hairstyle.

Hannah is charming in an effortless way and Lynch is suitably pathetic and desperate. Howitt balances the alternate realities of Helen's life with ease, although any real dramatic tension is lacking, especially toward the end when you feel control slipping.

The film never lays claim to been anything other than a romantic comedy, never lapses into smugness at its own cleverness and relies on the simple effectiveness of the gimmick.

End Credits

Director: Peter Howitt

Writer: Peter Howitt

Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, John Hannah, John Lynch, Jeanne Tripplehorn

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Length: 98 minutes

Cinema: 1998

Country: UK

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