7.6/10
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22 user 37 critic

An Angel at My Table (1990)

In 1920s and 1930s New Zealand, Janet Frame grows up in a poor family with lots of brothers and sisters. Already at an early age she is different from the other kids. She gets an education ... See full summary »

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Writers:

(autobiographical books "To the Is-Land", "An Angel at My Table" and "The Envoy from Mirror City"), (screenplay)
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18 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Alexia Keogh ...
Karen Fergusson ...
Iris Churn ...
Mother
Jessie Mune ...
Baby Janet
...
Father
Francesca Collins ...
Baby Jane
Melina Bernecker ...
Myrtle
Mark Morrison ...
Bruddie Frame as child
Katherine Murray-Cowper ...
Young Isabel
Mark Thomson ...
Billy Delaware
Brenda Kendall ...
Miss Botting
Paul Moffat ...
Dis McIvor
Blair Hutchison ...
Bully Boy
David McAuslan ...
Bully Boy
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Storyline

In 1920s and 1930s New Zealand, Janet Frame grows up in a poor family with lots of brothers and sisters. Already at an early age she is different from the other kids. She gets an education as a teacher but since she is considered abnormal she stays at a mental institution for eight years. Success comes when she starts to write novels. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sensuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| | |

Language:

|

Release Date:

20 September 1990 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Un ange à ma table  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$1,100,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kerry Fox gained two stones (12,7kg) for her role as Janet Frame. She managed this by drinking liters of Coca-Cola, eating packets of chocolate biscuits and going on the pill. See more »

Connections

Featured in Siskel & Ebert: The Best Films of 1991 (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Somebody Stole My Gal
Written by Leo Wod
Performed by Pat McMinn and Crombie Murdoch and the Nickleodeona
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Another fine example of extraordinary talent from NZ!
30 November 2000 | by (Jacksonville, FL) – See all my reviews

I think this film is another fine example of Kiwi talent! Some incredibly original literature, film, television, and acting talent originates from the island nation of New Zealand. "An Angel At My Table" is one of the great examples. The first time I saw this film (or tele-film) I was left emotionally affected by Janet Frame's life. I could not believe how easy it was for someone to be treated the way she was just because she was shy, socially awkward and had curly, red hair. How times have changed! Nowadays if you are not a freak ... you are a freak! It is scary to think how easy it was, apparently at that time, for a person to be thrown into a madhouse. Not to mention the deplorable conditions of those types of institutions.

Initially, I felt sorry for Ms. Frame but then I realized she probably has had a fuller life than I have had (or probably ever will). She has accomplished so much and given pleasure to the many who have read her stories and poetry. Watching this film has prompted me to begin looking for her writings since I have been so intrigued by her story. I was glad to see that by the end of the movie she had begun to become comfortable with herself and open her shell. Biographical information on Ms. Frame seems sketchy. I have not found much information about her life after the period where the film ended.

Thank you Jane Campion for another wonderful character driven film (albeit a real-life character this time)! The only real criticism I have of the film is the portrayal of Frame's time in the institution. While the film did not make it pretty nor gloss over the situation in general, sources I have read indicate Janet was dangerously close to receiving an operation that seems similar to a lobotomy. The operation, if performed, would have left Janet an emotionless, child-like creature and was not adequately depicted. But for the grace of her publication, she was saved.


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