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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why was this film overlooked?
I have read a lot of negative reviews of this film and came to it not expecting a lot. I am now clueless as to why it didn't receive greater acclaim and a wider release. I loved it. It is a fabulously inventive film with superb performances. The film works on so many levels. What's not to like? I love costume dramas, particularly when a director takes the genre and...
Published on 26 April 2009 by SazzaBlackIsland

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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I love it - I hate it! The story of a Victorian Barbie girl
I hate it. I love it. I can't make up my mind about "Angel" - the movie of the passionate, naive, obnoxious, ambitious egoiste Angel, who lives with her mother above a grocery and writes romantic novels. She has always dreamed of living at Paradise house and after she is published to buys the house - and everything that goes with an eccentric life style...
Published on 27 July 2010 by Louise Amkaer


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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why was this film overlooked?, 26 April 2009
This review is from: Angel [DVD] (DVD)
I have read a lot of negative reviews of this film and came to it not expecting a lot. I am now clueless as to why it didn't receive greater acclaim and a wider release. I loved it. It is a fabulously inventive film with superb performances. The film works on so many levels. What's not to like? I love costume dramas, particularly when a director takes the genre and subverts it. Admittedly, the beginning is a little disconcerting and only just manages to stay this side of parody but once the narrative is in its stride you "get" what Francois Ozon is doing - and you don't need to be a student of film to enjoy it either.

The film is also not simply an exercise in style. It is a great story that resonates with today's celebrity culture. Central to the film is a superlative performance from Romola Garai (surely the most naturally gifted young British currently working in film? Why was this performance overlooked in our awards season?) It is impossible to like Angel Deverell but we do understand her. To her credit, Garai does not attempt to make her likeable. In addition, Michael Fassbender and Lucy Russell are terrific; Sam Neill and Charlotte Rampling their usual classy selves.

Just one note of caution. Maybe this is a woman's or young woman's picture? Judge for yourself and see it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting film, 10 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Angel [DVD] (DVD)
This film is very good, yet very sad. Don't listen to the critique, it's nonesense. Just not everyone loves the subject matter, I guess, which is an ambitious but pretentious and capricious young woman going after her dreams. "Spoilers" Because of her character strengths - like stubborness, belief in her dreams, not being afraid to not be satisfied with the lowly life position into which she was born - she achieves eveything she ever wanted: great carrier and recognition, a house she dreamt of, and a man she loved. Because of her character flaws, however - being too self absorbed, not taking heed of the real needs of those around her, and being arrogant and ignorant about the reality - she loses everything she has ever achieved, quite aiding the ruin of the lives of the few who were attached to her, like her mother and her husband. And in the end, she dies of a broken heart. Very sad, yet touching and realistic.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I'm not interested in what's real, but what's beautiful!", 25 Aug 2011
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Angel [DVD] (DVD)
G.K. Chesterton once said that, "A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author."

He could have been talking about Angel Deverill, the sentimental young novelist in the middle of "Angel." This colorful, lush little movie is based on a novel by Elizabeth Taylor (no, not THAT Elizabeth Taylor), and Romola Garai brilliantly brings to life a protagonist who is swamped by her own imagination... until reality intrudes.

As a teenage girl in a dumpy little town, Angel Deverill (Garai) dreamed of becoming a famous, wealthy authoress. In time her sentimental, dramatic novels become huge bestsellers, and soon Angel is living the life she's always dreamed of -- a vast mansion, a luxurious life, and a neverending spring of melodramatic ideas.

Soon her real life becomes almost as dramatic as her fantasy life, especially when she falls in love with an impoverished painter named Esme (Michael Fassbender). But when Angel is confronted by death, marriage, war and the loss of her loved ones, she discovers that a dramatic life can also be the worst kind....

Rich ballrooms, sumptuous mansions, dramatic confessions of love, and endless swathes of gold, velvet and marble -- "Angel" is a luscious playground for the senses. For the first half, it seems like Angel is living out one of her own novels, but gradually a darker tone starts to creep into the story (such as when Esme tries to rape Angel).

And François Ozon has fun with the more ironic moments, mainly by pushing them over the top -- Angel and Esme's first kiss is set in a rainstorm, against a sunset AND with a rainbow overhead, and Angel greets Nora while posing in front of a harp in a flowing bright-pink gown. It's both amusing and heartbreaking to see Angel building up an iridescent bubble of make-believe to live in, only to have it popped by the real world.

Angel is not a heroine, really -- it doesn't take long for us to find out she's immature, selfish and insensitive, and a compulsive liar who constantly embroiders her mundane past. So it's a credit to Garai's talent that she actually makes us like Angel most of the time, putting her limpid eyes and trembly mouth to perfect use. And as her life falls apart, it's painful to see this child-woman being hammered by reality until she shatters.

Fassbender is as excellent but much darker, as we see the moody Esme moving from an edgy young painter into a self-destructive shell of his former self. And Lucy Russell has a good role as the devoted fan who gets to work for her favorite author, only to be subsumed into her life.

"Angel" is a tragic, dramatic, irony-soaked little story with a clueless anti-heroine -- but for Romola Garai's finest role, definitely a must-see.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I love it - I hate it! The story of a Victorian Barbie girl, 27 July 2010
By 
Louise Amkaer (Greenland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Angel [DVD] (DVD)
I hate it. I love it. I can't make up my mind about "Angel" - the movie of the passionate, naive, obnoxious, ambitious egoiste Angel, who lives with her mother above a grocery and writes romantic novels. She has always dreamed of living at Paradise house and after she is published to buys the house - and everything that goes with an eccentric life style.

Towards the end of the movie, Angel's loyal companion speaks of writing a biography about Angel and muses as to write about Angel in reality or in her fantasy world. A whirlwind world of big emotions, passion, lushious everything.

In truth, Angel is a character that the viewer loves and hates. I admire her persistense even when she is ruthless. The story in itself is banal as has a certain Barbara Cartland flair, but that is the life Angel plunges into willingly. The movie itself uses superficial effects as a movie playing behind the characters to allude Greece and Egypt, but I find the entire picture complete. Today, we would call Angel a Barbie girl, but in the Victorian era she is Angel with over-the-top hand gestures and a naivety that makes me smile.

Louise
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ozon amazes again, 1 May 2012
By 
schumann_bg - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Angel [DVD] (DVD)
Francois Ozon has turned his hand to a wide range of genres but somehow he always taps into the same ironic feel which plays on the illusion that is at the heart of cinema. He always gets a sense of unreality, of dream merging with reality, whether in the family drama (Sitcom) the Grimm-style fairy-tale (Criminal Lovers), political satire or a tale of a flying baby, or his fantastic shorts put out by BFI ... Yet the image is always very sharp, and the use of music crucial to the tone. The period drama leads us to expect something straight but Ozon subverts this brilliantly, and adds a fundamentally unsympathetic heroine - even if we do feel sorry for her in a way. It is a measure of the script and the performance by Romola Garai that we get a sense of someone who has a remarkable talent at one thing - if ultimately a rather trivial one - yet is very limited as a human being beyond this. And the irony of her artist-husband's trajectory through life as set against her own is really very telling in a rather painful way. It is hard to imagine who the film is aimed at which may explain why it has passed fairly unnoticed. The target audience for a costume drama with a pretty young lead is likely to be not too far from the readership of the character's books, which the film is implicitly critical of for abandoning her as soon as she is no longer fashionable or ceases to stick to the formula ... but this is all part of the brilliant tone of this film which has a kind of scintillating surface bravura.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting and a little bit Mills and Boon!, 10 Nov 2009
By 
Grace Poole (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Angel [DVD] (DVD)
I have watched this film three times now and each time it seems so different. There are many ways in which you could interpret this film, hence the very varied comments. But I really seemed to get it the second time I watched it. The character of Angel, a writer, is living in her own little bubble she has created. It is a fantasy. She is seeing life as a fantasy and indeed living it as one. And that is what the director seems to be trying to get across by creating the film with a 40's/50's feel, complete with green screens. If you view it as you would a film in that era it all makes perfect sense. Ramola Garai gives a wonderful performance as Angel. She is a chameleon, totally selfish and absorbed in her own little world. It is beautifully filmed, esthaetically pleasing throughout. It does border on the sickly at times, though and I have to say that I enjoyed the edited version as opposed to the longer version. The longer version was just a bit too much and seemed to overdose on sweetness, whereas the shorter version seems to just contain it from being too sugary. I'm sure I will be watching it again and again though as it is such a beautiful film.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful period piece, 11 Nov 2009
By 
Wilson Wong - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Angel [DVD] (DVD)
The mixed reviews I have read about this movie suggest most viewers either love it or hate it. There appears to be very little middle ground. Most of the criticisms centered on the perceived overacting of Romola Garai as Angel Deverell, her unlikeable character, the silly sentiment and laughable special effects. All these, I think, are missing the point.

In the movie, Angel is an immature, spoiled and imaginative girl dwelling on fantasies, but with a great determination to succeed. If this supposed to be her character, then it is a brilliant and totally believable portrayal. One can appreciate her positive qualities and dislike her negative ones at the same time. Far from just being beautiful, Miss Garai has the uncanny ability to actually make one feel the way her role does on screen. She looks different from one role to the next such that one can hardly recognize her as the same person in different movies. Surely these are the hallmarks of a great (but sadly under-appreciated) actor.

The sentiment in the movie, which may look silly in the present day, are quite realistic for the period. Director Francois Ozon said the crap special effects are intentional, which is entirely believable. I cannot imagine he (or any sane director!), with such a big budget, would settle for scenes which will make him a laughing stock. He just wanted to create a movie of the 40s or 50s,warts and all.

The movie is perhaps a bit overly sentimental and unabashedly old fashioned, which again is likely to be intentional. However, as I am prepared to view it as what it is, I find it very well made and highly enjoyable. I guess its assessment will depend on who is watching it.
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23 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Drowning in velvet, gold leaf and heady perfumes..., 9 April 2009
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This review is from: Angel [DVD] (DVD)
I read the book, on which this French-produced film was based, many years ago and loved it, so was keen to see how this translated to the screen. The book is by neglected but highly-esteemed author Elizabeth Taylor (no, not that one!) published in 1957, and tells of a prococious teenager who fulfills her dream of becoming a famous novelist.

I should have stuck to the book. What works on the page does not (here) work on film - instead you get an overblown, blousy, ridiculously tedious romance which doesn't have a scrap of the irony and acid humour of the original book. Whilst Romola Garai tries hard, her overacting - whilst in-keeping with the style of the direction - is off-putting, and although Angel is supposed to be a figure of fun, in this film I got beyond caring within about 5 minutes.

There are some nice cameos by, amongst others, Jacqueline Tong as the uncomprehending mother, Janine Duvitski as her sister, and Charlotte Rampling as the slightly bitter, down-to-earth wife of the publisher (played by Sam Neill), but they are all too slight to compensate for this sickly rich diet of 2 hours! The sets and costumes are sumptuous; it's like drowning in red velvet, gold leaf and heady perfumes - the props budget must have been through the roof - and yet there are some truly unintentional comedy moments a la Acorn Antiques when they drive through London which is so badly done with poor special effects and dubbed in backdrops you cannot but laugh!

Far better to buy the book here on Amazon and discover one of England's truly neglected great authors for yourself!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 6 July 2014
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This review is from: Angel [DVD] (DVD)
Good Sunday afternoon womans film wouldn't think most men would enjoy it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars angel dvd, 27 July 2013
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This review is from: Angel [DVD] (DVD)
i loved this film starring romala garai and michael fassbender it has everything in it a love story that had me in tears michael fassbenber is such a talent actor an excellent film
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Angel [DVD]
Angel [DVD] by Francois Ozon (DVD - 2009)
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