By Chris Gore | January 12, 1998

Gwyneth Paltrow plays Helen, an innocent young publicist who’s unaware that her leeching boyfriend is having an affair. After losing her job and having the worst day of her life, she dashes to catch a train. Now here comes the hook: the film, with the help of some lame-sounding magical music which seems lifted from a Disney film, splits into two separate stories. One is the story of the Helen who MADE the train and caught her boyfriend pumping the mistress, the second is the story of the version of Helen who MIssED the train, got mugged, went to the hospital for stitches and DIDN’T catch her boyfriend cheating. Wow. Kinda makes you think about how important seemingly minor events in life are. Not really.
Now the above description sounds intriguing, but the execution is poor. Paltrow is great as usual and we feel for her, but the supporting cast of British actors simply becomes grating on the nerves and left me feeling that the English are drunks and all have mistresses.
While this film left critics frustrated, checking their watches in a Los Angeles screening room, I can guarantee in the thin, mountain air that is Sundance, this film will be huge. Festival-goers will love it. It is the perfect opening night film. After the screening, a roundtable of critics, myself included, went out for drinks and we discussed how the film will be received in Park City. Everyone agreed that festival-goers and critics alike are “amped up” so to speak. Which means that sometimes a fair film will seem like a great film in the festival atmosphere. Expect raves for “Sliding Doors” from Sundance, then more realistic reviews in February when the film opens.

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