One of my favorite films is Sliding Doors. Granted, it's a bit of a chick flick, but it poses so many interesting questions. The "What If's" of life. You know, like:
What IF, I didn't make that light before it changed?
What IF, my life was forced to make a radical change?
What IF, two paths diverged into a wood, and I...(oops sorry, I digress).
So the writers of this flick take this concept (which I loved) and make it happen. They show the main character - Helen - and two divergent life paths. One triggered by making the last train home, and the other where she misses it. Following two Helen's for most of the film you see how single moments can change a life forever. One leads her home to find her boyfriend Gerry in bed with another woman, the other delays her return until the coast is clear and he gets away with his tryst without a hitch.
The supporting characters made it truly memorable...like Gerry's friend Russell whose sole job is to sit in the pub, listening the Gerry's tales of trying to balance a girlfriend and a mistress, and laughing at Gerry's self-imposed misery.
Russell: "Sorry, let me just... Lydia's becoming more and more demanding and you feel bad because Helen's working night and day to keep the money coming in. But you've asked Helen to come on a research trip to Dorset with you - knowing that she wouldn't be able to - to cover up the fact that you're really taking Lydia. And despite the fact that Lydia gave you an out on the phone - which you didn't take - you're having a moral dilemma. [pause] Gerry, you are a morality-free zone. "
[later, laughing hysterically] Russell: "I must say, being friends with you certainly makes the wait for the next episode of "Seinfeld" much easier to bear."
And Gerry's mistress Lydia? She is a true nutcase - played to perfection by Jeanne Triplehorn. She could have easily been cut and paste into Glenn Close's part in that slightly more famous psycho mistress part in Fatal Attraction.
Lydia: "Gerry, I'm a woman! We don't say what we WANT! But we reserve the right to get pissed off if we don't get it.
That's what makes us so fascinating!
And not a little bit scary."
(I had to pack that one in my brain for future use!)
The adorable James (played by John Hannah) and Helen (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) and their quick witted lines, done in charming scottish and british accents, respectively.
James: What are you doing two weeks on Saturday?
Helen: Probably killing myself.
James: Excellent. What time does that finish? Do you like boats?
I will warn you that when the stories re-converge you may be in for a nasty shock. You see, the inevitability of the story is that the two parallels cannot continue and must at some time re-align to a single life's journey. The first time I saw this movie, I actually yelled at the television. Really. And I threw popcorn too. I was that put out. But have faith.
Remember what the Monty Python Boys always say?
(inside joke, if you don't get it...see the movie!)
P.S. Hey Mom - if you're reading this...I have the movie on the DVR...we'll be watching it when you visit!