Directed by: Peter Howitt
Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, John Hannah, John Lynch
A romantic comedy with a cheesy gimmick? Oh man, this is going to set the world of film on its ear!! Ha ha, no need to be alarmed people, that was just a little joke I made! You see, the joke is that all romantic comedies are gimmicky, because by themselves the story of a tepid romance isn’t even close to being enough to keep people interested, much less entertained, for an hour and a half, and that’s why every single rom-com has some obnoxious gimmick to it. Sorry if I worried you!
Sliding Doors tells the story of two possible romances for Gwyneth Paltrow, each one depending on whether or not she had made a train one day. In one, she stays with her loser artist boyfriend who’s been cheating on her and gets pregnant, and in the other she meets some obnoxious actor who urges her to pursue her dreams and she still ends up hating him and getting pregnant anyway. Also at the end, both of her loses their baby, and there’s some weird metaphysical thing where maybe they both exist at the same time and are like, able to feel each other’s pain? It’s a mess.
I’m not sure if the lesson this movie’s trying to teach is that neither fate nor free will mean anything and at the end of the day everything dies, but that’s how I choose to take it. Kind of a depressing moral for a light romantic comedy, but at least it’s comforting to know that all these characters are going to eventually die and take their petty bullshit drama with them. I found it completely impossible to care about the lives of any of these characters, and the gimmick just made it feel like they were trying to save some money by having one actress play both leading women parts of a movie that could just as easily been about two friends in the same situation or whatever.