Sliding Doors

Year: 1998
Production Co: Mirage Enterprises
Studio: Miramax Films
Director: Peter Howitt
Writer: Peter Howitt
Cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, John Lynch, Jeanne Tripplehorn

An inventive idea that I haven't really seen since, based solely on the question 'what if' because of the choices and chance we face every day. According to the butterfly effect of chaos theory, they mean our lives can go in wildly different directions and that's the premise of the movie.

While it's an interesting one, the movie isn't in any way about that, it's just the story of two girls played by Gwyneth Paltrow, whose stories we jump back and forth between. The difference is that she plays the same character in both stories in alternative universes. In one, she's been running for a train, made it and come home in time to catch her boyfriend (Lynch) in bed with another woman (Tripplehorn). She kicks him out, gets her chaotic life on track and makes a success of herself.

In the parallel story she misses the train, gets home after her boyfriend has ushered his lover out the door, has no idea he's cheating on her, stays with and (from what I can remember) remains more or less a loser.

Neither story is particularly interesting in itself, so beware if the set-up makes you expect a sci-fi movies of parallel worlds.  It's just a romantic comedy...or two of them. Lynch as the heroine's boyfriend was just irritating rather than funny/neurotic like he was trying for, and the premise is the only thing that stays with you.

I do however remember a scene where the heroine has launched her own PR company and is attending the launch in a dress that made the far-too-skinny Paltrow look like a freshly exhumed corpse.

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