Sliding Doors is one of my favorite movies. As soon as I saw the trailer above, back in 1998, I knew I had to see it.
I went to the movies alone and armed myself with a jumbo popcorn slathered with extra butter, a large coke, and some chocolate covered raisins.
Gwyneth Paltrow played Helen, a London advertising executive. After she gets fired from her job, she devastatingly walks out of her office and plans to go home via subway.
And then fate kicked in, and two side by side scenarios emerged.
In the first scenario, Helen squeezes her way into the subway train just as the sliding doors are closing. Too bad for her, because, she comes home and finds her boyfriend, Gerry (played by John Lynch), in bed messing with another woman. Heartbroken Helen leaves Gerry, eventually finds the love of her life, and lives happily ever after.
In the second scenario, the sliding doors shut in her face, and she misses the train. While hailing a cab, a mugger tries to run off with her handbag, and she falls, hitting her head. By the time Helen arrives home, the other woman is long gone. Gerry continues to cheat on Helen, and poor suffering Helen lives a miserable life.
I was recovering from my own misery; a harrowing and heartbreaking familial divorce, so I found the movie sadly relatable.
What if I had never moved back to New York? What if I never went to that stupid party? What if I said no instead of yes? What if I decided to go it alone and have the baby anyway?
As the movie tracked through both storylines, I had no idea whether Helen got on that train or not.
But I was rooting for Helen. I was silently praying that those sliding doors shut right into her face. I was crying throughout the entire movie while shoving handfuls of overly buttered popcorn with a side of chocolate raisins into my mouth.
My tears weren’t for Helen; they were for me.
Because I had been the leading lady in my own version of Sliding Doors.
Haven’t we all?