Angel Baby (1995): Directed by Michael Rymer a jpoc movie review
A film to treasure
Rating and viewing notes
Seven out of ten.
My film of the year. I saw this on the 8th of June 1997 at the Vendome in Brussels and I was in tears.
the jpoc review
After the disappointment of Shine, this proved that Australia can make moving dramas about the mentally ill.
This is a powerful story about two people - Kate (Jacqueline McKenzie) and Harry (John Lynch) - fighting their inner demons to be together and to share their love.
They meet during a therapy session and Harry immediately falls for Kate. Despite his gauche directness and her initial wariness, Kate eventually falls for Harry. It is easy to understand what attracts them to each other. Neither sees the other as ill but as normal and rational in their own world.
Their troubles notwithstanding, they possess a full range of normal human desires, emotions and motivations. Plus, in their own way, they always act in a rational manner. It was just that they do so in a world that others do not perceive as being the real one. As one of those "others, "I hope that we are right in that perception. God help us all if we are not.
With their love for each other driving them, they do their best to achieve the normalcy that will allow them to be together. They do a pretty good job of pretending to be normal - good enough to get Harry a job and to make his family think that perhaps he can get well again..
It does not, indeed it cannot, last. Rather than be given the support and understanding that they need, they are increasingly expected to shoulder all that is expected of those who would call themselves sane.
When they finally crack, the only people who still accept them and want to help them are their fellow patients.
While some of the supporting cast seemed a little flat Lynch and MacKenzie put in stunning performances. Playing such roles in a way than can still connect with and gain sympathy from an audience is one of the hardest tasks an actor can tackle. Jack Nicholson managed it so well in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest that he may well have marked himself as the best movie actor ever but few actors are even willing to attempt such roles.
The film was very well put together too. The pace of the story was always maintained and the film was also a visual delight. It is easy to see why it picked up technical awards to go with those for acting.
Truely, a film that will touch your heart.