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Sliding Doors (1998)

Gwyneth Paltrow , John Hannah , Peter Howitt  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (483 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Gwyneth Paltrow, John Hannah, John Lynch, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Zara Turner
  • Directors: Peter Howitt
  • Writers: Peter Howitt
  • Producers: David Wisnievitz, Guy East, Helen Booth, Nigel Sinclair, Philippa Braithwaite
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: December 1, 1998
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (483 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305210411
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,518 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sliding Doors" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A London young woman's love life and career both hinge, unkown to her, on whether or not she catches a morning train back to her apartment.

Nice concept, shaky execution--that about sums up the mixed blessings of British actor Peter Howitt's intelligent but forgivably flawed debut as a writer-director. It's got more emotional depth than most frothy romantic comedies, and its central idea--the parallel tracking of two possible destinies for a young London professional played by Gwyneth Paltrow--is full of involving possibilities. It's essentially a what-if scenario with Helen (Paltrow) at the center of two slightly but significantly different romantic trajectories, one involving her two-timing boyfriend (John Lynch) and the other with an amiable chap (John Hannah) who represents a happier outcome. That's the film's basic problem, however: The two scenarios are so romantically imbalanced (one guy's a total cad, the other charmingly sincere) that Helen inadvertently comes off looking foolish and needlessly confused. Still, this remains a pleasant experiment, and Howitt's dialogue is witty enough to keep things entertaining. It's also a treat for Paltrow fans; not only does the svelte actress handle a British accent without embarrassing herself, but she gets to play two subtle variations of the same character, sporting different wardrobes and hairstyles in a role that plays into her glamorous off-screen persona. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
91 of 101 people found the following review helpful
I actually passed on seeing "Sliding Doors" several years ago because of a review I read by Roger Ebert. I knew about the basic premise of the film, which is that a character played by Gwyneth Paltrow gets on a subway train and does not get on a subway train. The film goes back and forth between the two plotlines, basically playing out both sides of Robert Frost's two paths diverging in the woods. Ebert's complaint was that taken independently neither of the plotlines was worth watching, which was enough to convince me to see something else.

Well, now I have seen "Sliding Doors" and while I agree with Ebert's critique, I want to argue that what is interesting about this film is not the two plotlines but the way they interact. Think of it as two wrongs making a right or the total effect being greater than the sum of the two parts or whatever makes sense to you. Writer-director Peter Howitt makes "Sliding Doors" into more than just a gimmick film. It is not in the class of "Groundhog Day" or "Memento," but it is certainly on a level with "50 First Dates."

Paltrow plays Helen Quilley. One morning she goes off to work, leaving behind her lover, Gerry (John Lynch). As soon as she gets to work she is sacked. On the way home she both catches and misses the subway in a sequences that is rather clumsily staged, but you get the idea. The Helen on the subway gets home in time to catch Gerry in bed with his supposedly ex-lover, Lydia (Jeanne Tripplehorn). The Helen who misses the subway gets hurt when her purse is stolen and gets home after Lydia has left and therefore knows nothing about the affair.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real gem full of surprises ! August 18, 2000
What can say ? I've seen this extremely funny and intelligently romantic movie about a dozen times after seeing it in the theater (and that's for lack of time) and I'm still not bored with it. I've shown it to people of all ages and both sexes and they all loved it. The "What if she had caught the rain?" becoming reality principle is not plausible of course but the rest of the movie is extremelly realistic.
Gwyneth is absolutely perfect, John Hannah delivers more one-liners than you could think of and yet never sounds contrived, his total lovability and his accent turn him into this so obvious babe. Jeanne Tripplehorn is cast in this very unrewarding role, yet -in one very memorable monologue especially- she manages to give it more than one "evil" dimension. In fact, all supporting roles are extremelly well-crafted and allow the movie never to see its pace slow down.
I should add that the first time I saw it I was wondering how the story would fall back on its feet in the end and I was so pleased to see how they had dealt with it. Thumbs up ! and thank you for this little gem.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Meaning of Life May 11, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
Okay, that's probably a bit over the top, but the movie deserves it. Top marks to Gwyneth for her accent - it's so unusual to hear a convincing English accent from an American (even Helen Beckinsdale - who's English - put on a 'what Americans think we sound like' accent when she played Ross's girlfriend in 'Friends'). The story is simple, yes, and Gwyneth's character is not a ober-babe. She makes stupid mistakes. She's not always intelligent and says the right thing...she's human. It was also very interesting to see how the other characters changed as her life changed, too. Her boyfriend, in one life an uncaring pig, in another desperate to rekindle what he had lost (fat chance). When I watched this, my friend (of the female persuasion) shrieked at the car crash/stairs incident. It's one of those. You'll love the characters, you'll hate what happens to them, but it all makes your own life seem somehow richer.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute Jewel August 27, 2001
Gwyneth Paltrow's best film to date, performance-wise, even better (I think) then 'Shakespeare in Love'. She plays Helen, and... Helen. Should be confusing, but surprisingly, isn't. The movie really picks up when Helen, who's just been fired from her major PR job in downtown London, misses a train. And then, rewind, she catches the train. What insues is a delightful, unique, and surpisingly deep film about what her life is like traveling down the two different paths. On one hand, she has lazy, scummy boyfriend Jerry, who you somehow can't help liking at least a little bit (at least, you never hate him as much as you'd like to). He's a great comic presence, confused and trying to do the right thing, but keeps tripping over his own self-indulgent feet. On the other hand, you have John Hannah's character, and good-hearted and hilarious bloke who's original and quite cute. The way Helen reacts with others in a scene is wonderful. Definitely worth watching over and over.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Concept, fulfilling development December 12, 1999
By Jo28
Format:VHS Tape
This movie must've started with someone wonderng "What if?" as we've all done. From there, it keeps viewers interested by turning into a double feature of sorts, What if Helen catches the train? What is she doesn't catch the train? I was first interested in this movie because of the interesting premise, but it more than delivered. A very satisfying movie, and very entertaining, I recommend it highly!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Only if you need to see.
Depressing but good story line
Published 19 days ago by Karen E. Gerry
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful 'what if' film
A wonderful 'what if' film....every since I saw it years ago I sometimes wonder- what if I went that way instead of this way. Read more
Published 21 days ago by Kathy Spake
1.0 out of 5 stars poor movie
Not good..poor acting by Gwen and very confusing
Published 1 month ago by lenore white
5.0 out of 5 stars Best for Gwyneth fans I guess
Very confusing at first, but interesting once the story is understood. Best for Gwyneth fans I guess, I got it for Hannah. Read more
Published 1 month ago by MCM
4.0 out of 5 stars Great movie!
Excellent acting and very entertaining.
Published 2 months ago by Robin Husslage
5.0 out of 5 stars A What If Movie!
Fantastic what if movie that is a romantic suspense from both sides of the same coin.
Published 2 months ago by Jersey Guy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great great movie!! Love the concept, love the story!!
Published 2 months ago by Kristine K
5.0 out of 5 stars Gwyneth makes this movie.
I love gwyneth and I love this story of seconds and inches changing everything, or does it? Love the ending.
Published 3 months ago by nancy lund
2.0 out of 5 stars I hated it, struggled through it
Chick flick extraordinaire.
I hated it, struggled through it, but women love it.
Look, if you're in a spot and need some points with her, go ahead and watch it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Peter G
5.0 out of 5 stars "bollocks to him"
Love love love the idea and the wonderful 90s execution.. It's Gwyneth at her best.
There some great British curse words throughout the whole film. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Robin J Sellman
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