Friday, 26 April 2019

The Ending That We Wish For

Last week I spoke about the relativity of time as well as how 'unimportant' time actually is if we were to sit down and think about it. (Article available here:

However time could be said to condition some things and amongst these is the chance or not of catching a London Underground train. Yes, for those classic film fans out there who have already guessed it, I finally watched Sliding Doors, a film with a plot that hinges the whole of a woman's life on whether she grabs the train or else is a split second too late to do so.

The film is commercial, expertly executed to be easily followed and provides an exquisitely alternate ending to the one the viewer expects. It is this ending, however, that changed my idea of what this article would turn out to be about.

Originally I intended to discuss the film's focus on the alternate realities that arise from making a choice or accepting a circumstance, an idea which I'll be getting back to on another day. For now, though, I intend to focus on a little detail that stuck out in this film and won't let me leave it well alone.

NB - There might be spoilers ahead.

I am talking about the 'changed' reaction of the character Helen to a simple question that James poses in both her realities. In the meeting with James on the train, she has no real answer to his reference about Monty Python. On the other hand, in meeting James much later on in her story in the missed-train scenario, not only do they go through a déjà vu but she also instinctively knows the answer to his Monty Python question.

It would be a little detail and 'just' a way to wrap up the film, were it not for the niggling thought in my head that despite the changes in circumstances, the character Helen is always one and the same and if she were to know the answer to James' question, she would have known it both times. Not only that, but she herself seems surprised at knowing how to reply.

This suggests to me a connection that she feels with this 'stranger', defying the reality of having only just met. To someone who believes in the power of our souls as well as reincarnation, this hints that the two might have met before, in a different life, or maybe even in her head whilst she was still in a coma after the accident.

The film provides two stories to follow that take completely different turns and yet still centre around Helen, James and Gerry in both cases. Even as the alternate scenarios diverge drastically, it is ironic that sometimes life will put us back in exactly the same spot whatever we have chosen and done before, as the accident, one of few constants in both parallels, suggests. However even after that, the stories go off on another tangent to each other, providing not only two equally thought-provoking endings but also the realisation that a story will always have an endless number of endings inbuilt into that one 'reality'. For we are all our different selves, and we will all perceive that which we most wish.

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