You’ve gotta sober up, Sydney Pollack wants to talk to you.
April 30, 2018 1:36 PM   Subscribe

"There is no explanation for how or why Helen, out of all the women running for her train in all of London, gets to experience these two lives. There is no fairy godmother or Virgin Mary to thank—no ghosts of Christmas past, no good witch with a magic spell. The film trusts the audience completely to understand this is wish fulfillment in its purest form: the desire to check in with all our parallel selves, to see those near-misses and almost-was and what-ifs given back through movie magic and nothing more." The Almosts and What-ifs of ‘Sliding Doors’
posted by everybody had matching towels (12 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
So is there some kind of Armageddon/Deep Impact thing going on with this movie and Run Lola Run?
posted by tobascodagama at 1:43 PM on April 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

this is the best film about how the wrong haircut can mess up your life
posted by roger ackroyd at 1:50 PM on April 30, 2018 [22 favorites]

If she had to have got an Oscar, I would much prefer for her to have one for Sliding Doors rather than Shakespeare in Love. That and other big winners of that era (mostly Miramax) like Crash, Piano, English Patient, Magnolia etc. have aged badly, IMHO. I have no real yearning to see those movies again. OTOH, movies like Sliding Doors, Se7en, Usual Suspects, Pulp Fiction etc., I want to watch again.

Gwyneth Paltrow was wonderful in this movie. It wasn't just the portrayal of two characters; it was how when she is in the blond woman track, she projects confidence in herself and how she handles everything in her life that I found really wonderful. I think I need to watch this film again. I am at a kind of crosroads in my life and I think watching this movie will be good for me.

Thanks for posting this.
posted by indianbadger1 at 2:12 PM on April 30, 2018 [10 favorites]

"Sliding Doors remains a cultural touchstone, burned into so many brains for so many reasons."

My one reason: In an old interview, Gillian Anderson said she adored the script, and lamented that she wasn't a big-enough box-office draw to get the part.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:16 PM on April 30, 2018 [6 favorites]

It's mentioned in the essay, but my favorite Sliding Doors homage is the Broad City episode about how Abbi and Ilana met. It has a really sweet twist that just made my day when I watched it.
posted by lunasol at 3:44 PM on April 30, 2018 [9 favorites]

There is no explanation for how or why Helen, out of all the women running for her train in all of London

I misread this at a glance, and was expecting a super-cool niche women's group that meets on a train in London.
posted by aniola at 4:26 PM on April 30, 2018 [4 favorites]

Oh I loved that movie. And it’s funny that, to me, it’s clearly about cause and effect, chance, and the vagaries of attention - nothing mysterious, except for the “it’s meant to be, just not in any particular order”.

But yeah, instead of relying on her libellous ex bosses for a reference to get hired, Helen takes her PR - PR! skills, starts her business and controls her own story. It’s inattention to traffic that does her in. The other Helen has bad hair and relies on the opinions of others, but it turns out OK after all.

Also “thank you” is one of my favourite songs and I heard it here first.
posted by tel3path at 5:26 PM on April 30, 2018

So in 2003, I worked for a travel company for rich people. On my first day of work, I walked into the kitchen, which was right beside my office, and I said "Um... What the?! You're Sidney Pollack!" to the man who was sitting by himself eating a sandwich.

"Yes, I am," he said, and shook my hand.

"You made two of my favorite movies," I said.

"Let me guess: Tootsie and Out of Africa."

"God, no," I said. "Three Days of the Condor and They Shoot Horses, Don't They?," and he lit up like a Christmas tree.

A few hours later we went to lunch with the business owner and some other workers and I asked him about working for Stan Kubrick.

"Oh, that's a crazy story," he said. "We're on set and he tells me to take my shirt off for the next scene, and I tell him, no, I don't take my shirt off. I'm old and Tom Cruise is in the scene. Nobody wants to see me topless. So, we talk for a bit and we do the scene and then the movie comes out and I go see it and my scene comes up and I have my shirt off. I have no recollection. What are you gonna do? It's Stanley Kubrick."

That's the end of my story.

(Except to say it was a weird job. I'd answer the phone and Michael Douglas or Goldie Hawn would be on the other end. It was weird.)
posted by dobbs at 8:06 PM on April 30, 2018 [19 favorites]

I just wish Paltrow hadn't made her work harder for me to enjoy by pushing harmful woo woo medical shit like jade vagina eggs.

Nevertheless, I loved this movie and still watch it every few years. I still want to punch her no-good boyfriend in the face.
posted by emjaybee at 9:50 PM on April 30, 2018 [3 favorites]

I frequently complain that this movie never seems to be on the streaming services when I want to watch it. It just scratches an itch and I have very fond memories of seeing it for the first time. (I shall ignore the fact that that was 20 years ago, waaarghnooo.)
posted by halcyonday at 3:47 AM on May 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

I watched it once, it was fun but I found it so upsetting I refuse to ever watch it again. Sometimes I get curious but I am mostly able to prevent myself from making a mistake.
posted by jeather at 5:05 AM on May 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

It's coming on Netflix very soon.
posted by agregoli at 10:31 AM on May 3, 2018

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