Two Stories, one right, one wrong: narrative, national identity and globalization in Sliding Doors

Martin-Jones, D. (2004) Two Stories, one right, one wrong: narrative, national identity and globalization in Sliding Doors. CineAction, 64,

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Abstract

Sliding Doors (Peter Howitt, 1997) was one of several films to emerge in the late 90s that showed two or more versions of the same narrative. It presented alternate incarnations of its protagonist, Helen/Gwyneth Paltrow as though they existed in parallel universes. Yet, despite its slightly unusual dual narrative, the way in which Sliding Doors constructs national identity is hardly original. It uses its two versions of the same story to offer two contrasting views of national identity in 90s Britain, and asks the viewer to choose between them. Should we be in any doubt as to which is the 'correct' narrative outcome, the choice is clearly signposted for us by the film. In fact, this device is really only a variation on classical narratives like, It’s a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946). As Frank Krutnik has shown, in Capra's film, a specifically weighted choice was offered to American servicemen returning from WWII. National identity was allowed two possible routes, either a return to the small town values of Bedford Falls (the 'right' outcome), or the soulless noir landscape of Pottersville (the 'wrong' outcome).

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Martin-Jones, Professor David
Authors: Martin-Jones, D.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies
Journal Name:CineAction
ISSN:0826-9866

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