[Original Written for Expats Post. Will Be Published Early Monday 30th December 2013]
Film Review by Jennifer Kiley
Created on 26th December 2013
Posted on Friday 27th December 2013
“No one expects the Spanish Inquisition” — Monty Python
What if your life split into two timelines? In one timeline, you make your morning train, the other, someone mugs you, smashes your head into a tree, a kind British taxi driver takes you to the hospital. The split completely alters the experiences of your two lives, two different synchronicities. In one reality, you get fired, in the other, you don’t make it to work. You come home early, the other, you don’t make it home until the correct amount of time later. After things at home have time to move into a different moment, creating an alternate future, causing two parallel realities.
The film, Sliding Doors, involves Helen [Gwyneth Paltrow] meeting a new man, while still living with Gerry [John Lynch], One timeline remains with Gerry, a novelist, she is supporting. He is supposed to be writing his novel. In the other timeline, things come to an abrupt conclusion.
It’s a brilliantly conceived realistic fantasy, totally believable. How it all turns out, is well worth the time put in to watching, as the two realities evolve. Ultimately, turning out an ending with a twist. The whole film is one twisted curve. The story is enchanted. You make your choices. It’s was easy for me. It makes my best and favorites list. What is not to crave and love?
The complexity, a brilliantly written screenplay, superb acting by a fine cast. Gwyneth Paltrow [Helen] and John Hannah [James] are in top form. John Hannah is someone with whom to fall in love. He is a genuinely fine and sensitive actor. His first film that appeared outside the UK was Four Weddings and a Funeral. His reading of W.H. Auden’s Funeral Blues was an especially painful, yet tender moment.
John Lynch and Jeanne Tripplehorn play the jesters, though irritating characters, carry off their roles sadly, pathetically, yet comically. It is impossible not to feel these two are not exactly on your favorite characters list. But there is always a need for antagonists. And most times you don’t like them, yet can appreciate their need in the film, or where would be the negative for the positive to repel? .
Lydia [Jeanne Tripplehorn] is a tremendous pain and cruel to boot. Gerry [John Lynch], the man Helen lives with is a ball-less, unfaithful, pathetic jerk. These are my truthful prejudices.
In the timeline, where Helen gets to know James life and becomes an integral part. This is the life I enjoy watching develop the most. If you decide to watch the film Sliding Doors, and I highly recommend it, you will be following a journey through regrouping and beginning your life from the start again. The alternate timelines are living inside of a blindness to what is happening around them.
Altering time is fascinating. Watching new possibilities grow, while you are living your life as it was given to you. At the same exact time being given a new life while the old life continues in an almost similar direction, just arriving separately.
The ending, I won’t even go anywhere near what happens there. I do recommend “you start at the beginning until you come to the end, then stop.” —Lewis Carroll. It is well worth the journey. Without telling you the culmination of the story, I will say it is imaginative.
Sliding Doors is fascinating to watch. Curious how it makes you feel. You will route for Helen all the way, but which one? What will you think of James? He has his secrets as well. There are secrets everywhere. Characters you just don’t like. Maybe I am being too judgmental but some behaviors are really not honorable.
Sliding Doors is definitely about love. Real love. I am not sure if Gerry knows what he feels. You, as the audience, decide that conclusion. I am not enamored of him. Where my allegiances lie, I haven’t hidden. But my letting that out will not give you any idea what this story is trying to share. Feeling love and caring and knowing when you see it and feel it.
I keep returning to the ending. It surprised me the first time I watched Sliding Doors. It may surprise everyone who watches it. The creativity of the mind who created this story, must be very fertile. I love when someone writes something so different. Something one has not seen in a film before. An original concept, playing with time, in the way Sliding Doors plays it through.
Anyone who likes imagination, thinking, going with the possibilities, being able to expect the unusual and to be able to accept the unique, will love Sliding Doors.
It is a film one can watch more than once. Why? Some films create such ponderings in the mind one needs a dose of their originality to sooth the soul and to believe in the genius of originality. It still truly exists in a world of film on the edge of losing its ability to create plenty of room for new ideas. They sneak in here or there.
Sliding Doors is made for the romantic as well as the psychologically prone individual. The interaction between Helen and James is an invitation to see how feelings slowly develop within a natural growth. The depth of love and feelings are real and should not chase away the male viewer. It is a thinking person’s film. Don’t be afraid of the romance.
The other side of the film is either funny or irritating but in a way that holds the viewer’s attention. For me, I just want to slap some sense into Lydia and Gerry. He is an ass and she is not much higher on the evolutionary ladder.
I prize this film. Obviously, the parts that are irritating would accentuate after you’ve watched this film often enough. Even so, the rest of the film is well worth viewing as often as possible.
The two Helens are reacting so differently and anyone near her lives are different, also. Everyone has to change their perspective on what is real. Keeping them organized is not complicated, instead it is a curious experience to see the different performances.
One more film on my list of films I watch whenever I find the time. It is, to me, like looking into a great work of art, each view you see more deeply into what your senses are perceiving. Each perception brings on different feelings and reactions on other sense levels. Losing myself in the art is a love affair. Losing may not be the most accurate word, pleasure is more succinct. There is emotional pleasure and an indescribable response in experiencing art.
For me, film can most assuredly be considered art. It has such an availability of ranges, in which to explore the mind, the imagination, to express emotions, thoughts, concepts, ideas, non-sense, and a letting go of creativity. To develop a conversation, acting out a concept, to see where it will lead in opening one’s mind to something deeper or new.
Sliding Doors is this film. It is art. It creates a possibility of fantasy, which could hold a particle of truth within its idea of playing with time.
“Always look on the bright side of life.” I love the mentions of Monty Python. What they say and do in their work, mostly non-sense, is filled with humor and ridiculosity.
Sliding Doors asks you to suspend your concept of reality, step into a moment of fantasy and allow that to have possibilities. Go with where it takes you. Accept its consequences.
“No one expects the Spanish Inquisition” — Monty Python
Helen: Gwyneth Paltrow
James: John Hannah
Gerry: John Lynch
Lydia: Jeanne Tripplehorn
Directed & Written by Peter Howitt [Antitrust with Ryan Philippe, Tim Robbins, and Rachel Leigh Cook. An extreme thriller in the intrigue of super-computers, programmers, inventive ideas, murder, and an exciting film to watch. Edge of the seat philosophy film-making. One I shall watch again really soon & highly recommend for the film viewer who wants excitement with their popcorn. Eat slowly so you don’t choke. Available Free through Redbox Subscription using Roku. Will review in near Future].
Available Presently [26th Dec. 2013]
Amazon Instant Video or Purchase Amazon.com