I couldn’t tell you honestly why I chose to watch this. I could pretend it was a senseless decision, or a slip of the mouse on the Netflix home page. But, in truth, my selection of this film was completely conscious. I was neither forced, nor bet on; imprisoned or shackled. I was, simply put, magnetized by the uncontrollable Hannah-forces. John Hannah forces, to be precise. And after experiencing the entire film in a state of glazed confusion (mostly by how I could be so controlled by my pathetic crushes), I have come to the conclusion that, lets be honest, he should have played all the characters in this up-and-down Brit-flick.
Sliding Doors is your typical ‘romcom with a twist’. Gwyneth Paltrow plays Helen, a woman leading a life with so many romcom clichés you’d think she would have broken the fourth wall and started questioning the camera crew swarming her London apartment. The trendy office job, the struggling novelist boyfriend, said twat boyfriend having an affair with an American – must I go on? The only element that you can call mildly original is the whole sliding doors concept. The film stems out in two directions, sparking from one minor event of one minor day. Does she catch the tube or doesn’t she? The plot follows Helen’s two possible lives, illustrating how inconsequential things can completely flip a person’s entire life.
If anyone can tell me why Gwyneth Paltrow was cast, I would appreciate an answer. That scene in the boat on the Thames where she hopelessly stumbles over her words in lovestruck embarrassment is up there in my all time favourite shit-acting-that-I-have-had-the-displeasure-of-cringing-over list. But, what makes it worse is, I can only blame myself. I chose to watch the whole film and not switch off. I, with most of my brain still intact, suffered through innumerable scenes of misery, precious time which I will never get back.
I feel like all this hate and negativity will leave me with some sort of stress-related disease so, I’ll try my best to find some positives.
1. The name. It is a pretty good name. I mean, once you come up with the concept, I suppose the title just followed but, if it wasn’t so half-decent, I probably would have avoided the film altogether, regardless of the Hannah-forces.
2. Did I mention John Hannah? I must confess, I have only seen him in one other film, that being the British romcom done right, Four Weddings and a Funeral. And, to no surprise from me, he was the character I wanted to see more of on screen. The smile, the face, the accent. I bet you’re thinking, now who’s being clichéd? I can’t even defend myself on that front.
3. “Permission to engage the enemy, sir.” When the majority of the jokes fell flat, that line broke my humour barrier. I have to confess, I did laugh out loud. It was funny at the time though, looking back, I was probably laughing for the wrong reasons. But, if we’re looking for positives, a laugh is a laugh.
4. That ending. I don’t want to spoil anything so all I’ll say is, any Monty Python reference goes down well with me.
This film is definitely not something that I would soberly recommend. The fact that the first Google search result of the film’s name is Homebase’s rather wonderful selection of sliding doors, pretty much says it all. I’m sorry, Mr Hannah, but even you couldn’t save this below par, anti-delight.