I fell in love with Gwyneth Paltrow in the mid ‘90’s. I’m not as big a fan now that she has become a “lifestyle guru,” back then it was about a burgeoning talent, a fresh beauty and interesing work. The diversity and quality of films that she made in that part of her career (Se7en, Hard Eight, Emma) made her one of the few actors whose films I would seek out. I saw anything and everything that she was in.
In 1998 she was in Sliding Doors. Although it’s far from perfect, it brings up philosophical questions about the “what if’s” and missed chances that we question in life. These deeper thoughts and ideas are packaged in a film- sold as a romantic comedy which actually is a strangely empowering female tale. Paltrow is at her most radiant in this film as she portrays two versions of the character Helen. Jeanne Tripplehorn as Lydia, Helen’s boyfriend’s mistress, overacts to an embarrassing degree and the plot line of her and Lydia’s boyfriend Gerry becomes redundant but no silliness or redundancies can take away from the poignancy of witnessing the two paths that Helen’s life may take.
I have re-watched the film at least once a year since it’s release. I shared it with my oldest daughter when she hit her age of reasoning and have since shared it with my younger daughter and several of their friends. There is some undefinable magic at the heart of the story that women of all ages, but particularly young women who are making decisions daily about careers and relationships respond to.
So- The movie came out years ago and there is a song that appears for mere moments that has haunted me in the best possible way ever since my first viewing of the film. It has the refrain, “Coming up for air…” and that’s all that I knew about it. It isn’t on the soundtrack I could never find a listing for it in the credits.
This morning I decided to ask Siri, “Siri, find me the song ‘Coming up for Air’” not even knowing if that was the title. Moments later instead of her usual far off responses like, “Here are Renaissance Fairs in you area,” she ACTUALLY FOUND ME THE SONG! The full length song is gorgeous. I now know that it’s by Patty Larkin, a performer whom I was aware of but never pieced together that the song could have been by her from the brief clip of it used in the film.
What more could you say to compliment a piece of art then that you revisit it regularly, that you continue to learn and see new things from it and that you are able to share it with other people. Thanks to all and whoever was involved in the creation of the film Sliding Doors.