camerabar is playing Sliding Doors on Feb 28. I kind of want to revisit this because my impression is completely different from the reviews that I read after I saw it. Some reviewers say it’s not as good as Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Blind Chance. Okay. Do you walk into theaters expecting Kieslowski every single time? Whereas Blind Chance plays out three possible scenarios where the protagonist may or may not become a communist, Sliding Doors projects two parallel realities.
Reality A: Helen loses her job, catches the train, meets James, catches her boyfriend cheating on her, starts her own PR firm, starts dating James, distrusts James and has an accident that results in her dying in his arms in the hospital.
Reality B: Helen loses her job, does not catch the train, does not meet James, does not catch her boyfriend cheating on her yet. Helen works two part time jobs, eventually catches her boyfriend cheating on her and has an accident. As she leaves the hospital, she meets James.
Until the end, Reality A is pretty much amazing and Reality B is a mess. Most reviewers say that this film has a happy ending because Helen meets James in Reality B. My question is … what stops what happened in Reality A from repeating itself in Reality B? Since she just broke up with a cheating boyfriend, wouldn’t she be just as inclined to distrust him in Reality B as in Reality A? Is a man who pretends to be married to satisfy his sick mother really trustworthy? Maybe I should start a dating website called second chance that helps people who died in a parallel reality find true love?
I think the real reason that this is a happy movie is not that there is a guaranteed happy ending but that she is still alive. As long as we are alive, we have a second chance and the mess that we call life might just turn out to be perfect.
P.S. Want to check out Foreign Cinema next time I’m in SF.