Sliding Doors

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
Sliding Doors Movie Poster Image
'90s fantasy-romance has mature themes, lots of profanity.
  • PG-13
  • 1998
  • 99 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Everything happens for the best. You never know until you try.

Positive Role Models & Representations

A man is a liar and a cheat. A woman is clueless about the sketchy character of her boyfriend of two years.


A woman is mugged and has a cut on her forehead. A pregnant woman has a car accident and loses her baby. A pregnant woman falls down a flight of stairs and loses her baby.


A woman walks in on her boyfriend having sex with another woman. No nudity is seen. A couple is seen making love in dark shadows. Two adults kiss. A man is bare-chested in the shower. A woman is seen in the shower from the shoulders up. A woman tells strangers she gave someone a blow job.


Expect to hear "s--t," "bastard," "d--khead," "c--k," "blow job" "piss," and British slang: "shag," "bollocks," and "bugger."


An Audi is seen.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink lots of beer, wine, and alcohol, at times to extreme drunkenness. Adults smoke cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sliding Doors is a 1998 fantasy about finding love featuring two parallel stories. By chance, a woman discovers her boyfriend is having an affair at the same time she meets a much nicer guy who's getting divorced. Pregnancy and losing a baby are plot points. Characters drink alcohol to excess and smoke cigarettes. Expect to hear "s--t," "bastard," "blow job," "d--khead," "c--k," "piss," and British slang: "shag," "bollocks," and "bugger."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCinefile97 March 20, 2018

What if?

Sliding Doors operates on a gimmick. A gimmick which I find entirely fascinating: one woman, one fateful occurrence, two alternate timelines (The Butterfly Eff... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old February 16, 2019

Cool Conceptual Cinematography for Alternate Realities with Lame Story

An unfunny, not dramatic story with a great concept. The lead is cuter than the movie, for sure.
Teen, 13 years old Written byraquelandonie04 October 1, 2017

I really enjoyed watching this

But there are some parts you should cover your eyes at.

What's the story?

SLIDING DOORS poses two possible life narratives for Helen (Gwyneth Paltrow), an English PR person supporting her boyfriend (John Lynch), who is home writing a novel. After getting fired, she takes the train home to find him in their bed with another woman. In the parallel story, she misses her train and doesn't discover the cheating until later, even though many clues are evident. Both Helens discover they're pregnant, and both lose the babies in accidents. Helen No. 1 and Helen No. 2 both meet a charming stranger (John Hannah) who is supportive, empathetic, and funny.

Is it any good?

The parallel "what if" construction of this fantasy at first seems interesting and full of potential, but 20 minutes in, you have to wonder about the benefit of the increasingly clunky conceit. As the movie goes on, it turns out that whether Helen learns her useless boyfriend is having an affair sooner or later makes absolutely no difference to the outcome or the artfulness of the movie. In fact, the strategy at first suggests how different life can be if a different path is taken, but that notion is dashed by an ending that delivers two results that are essentially the same. Paltrow is likable, but her English accent is labored and, given the details of the script, utterly unnecessary.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the way the movie suggests that anyone's life can take a different course by chance. Do you believe that is true? Why, or why not?

  • The movie suggests that when people are sad they might drink too much alcohol. Do you think getting drunk helps the main character with her problems? How else could she cope?

  • Were you surprised by the ending? How would you have ended the movie?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romance

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