IMDb > An Angel at My Table (1990)
An Angel at My Table
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An Angel at My Table (1990) More at IMDbPro »

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Janet Frame (autobiographical books "To the Is-Land", "An Angel at My Table" and "The Envoy from Mirror City")
Laura Jones (screenplay)
View company contact information for An Angel at My Table on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
20 September 1990 (Australia) See more »
In 1920s and 1930s New Zealand, Janet Frame grows up in a poor family with lots of brothers and sisters... See more » | Add synopsis »
18 wins & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A Biography of Beauty See more (19 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Kerry Fox ... Janet Frame
Alexia Keogh ... Janet Frame as adolescent
Karen Fergusson ... Janet Frame as a teenager
Iris Churn ... Mother
Jessie Mune ... Baby Janet

Kevin J. Wilson ... 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
Ailene Herring ... Teacher
Faye Flegg ... Doctor
Carla Hedgeman ... Young Poppy
Timothy Bartlett ... Gussy Dymock
Richard Mills ... Talent Scout
Sassy Acorn ... Audition Girl
Tony Creamer ... Audition Boy
Hamish McFarlane ... Avril Luxon
Geoff Barlow ... Headmaster
Samantha Townsley ... Teenage Isabel
Sarah Llewellyn ... June Frame as Child
Christopher Lawrence ... Bruddie Frame as Teen
Edith Campion ... Miss Lindsay
Fiona Kay ... Marguerite
Brian Flegg ... Doctor
Eileen Clark ... Neighbor
Margaret Gordon ... Neighbor
Caroline Somerville ... Poppy as teen
Lilian Enting ... Miss Crowe
Fiona Brown ... Shirley
Maureen Duffy ... Miss Farnie
Karla Smith ... Sybil
Willa O'Neill ... Edith
Fritha Stalker ... Bridget
Melanie Reid ... Melanie

Natasha Gray ... Lesley
Kelly Stewart ... Rose

Andrew Robertt ... Bruddie (as Andrew Binns)
Glynis Angell ... Isabel
Susan McGregor ... June Frame as teen
Erin Mills ... Katherine
Virginia Brocklehurst ... Rona
Natalie Ellis ... Aunt Isy
Eddie Hegan ... Uncle George
Sarah Smuts-Kennedy ... June
Colin McColl ... John Forrest
Erin Dorricott ... Eunice
Francene Clark ... Mary
Doreen Donnell ... Teacher
Alistair Douglas ... Headmaster
Rod Collison ... Mr. Niles
Harry Lavington ... Head of Psychology
Sheryl Stewart ... Nurse Maitland
Cushla Ashton ... Borstal Girl
Jacqueline O'Rourke ... Borstal Girl
Joy Trow ... Woman on Platform
June Shane ... Neighbour
Annabel Lomas ... Mrs. Chandler (as Annabelle Lomas)
Ann Coc-Kroft ... Nurse
David Stott ... Doctor
Elizabeth McRae ... Nurse
Jim Rawdon ... Wilson
Peter Brunt ... Dr. Burt
Celia Nicholson ... Piona
Peter Needham ... Dr. Palmer
Joshua Cole ... June and Wilson's Child
Ian Hendl ... June and Wilson's Child
Martyn Sanderson ... Frank Sargeson
Jessica Wilcox ... Kay Stead
Mark Clare ... Karl Stead
Helene Anderson ... Norwegian Woman
Joan Foster ... Hotel Manageress
David Letch ... Patrick
Rob Jayne ... Ben
Sharon Marsden ... Katie

Collette Cooper ... Bohemian
Paul Norell ... Bohemian
Julia Calvo ... Spanish Woman on Train
Carlos Martínez ... Spanish Official
Maria Matias ... Spanish Woman
Michael Harry ... Colin
Maria Mercedes Moroto ... Catalina
Paula Sánchez ... Francesca
Timothy Smith ... Edwin Mather
Alison Bruce ... Dora
William Brandt ... Bernhard
Gwyneth Hugues ... Matron
Gerald Bryan ... Dr. Cawley
Billie Atkinson ... Mrs. Morgan
Peter Dennett ... Mark Goulden
David McKenzie ... Alan Sillitoe
Eleanor Wragge ... Ruth Sillitoe
Caroline Flint ... Mrs. Goulden
Rachel Hernandez ... Columba
Patrick Griffiths ... Reporter
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jack Dacey ... Extra in games scene in room (uncredited)
Melissa Dawson ... (uncredited)

Directed by
Jane Campion 
Writing credits
Janet Frame (autobiographical books "To the Is-Land", "An Angel at My Table" and "The Envoy from Mirror City")

Laura Jones (screenplay)

Produced by
Bridget Ikin .... producer
John Maynard .... co-producer
Original Music by
Don McGlashan 
Cinematography by
Stuart Dryburgh 
Film Editing by
Veronika Jenet  (as Veronika Haeussler)
Casting by
Diana Rowan 
Production Design by
Grant Major 
Art Direction by
Jackie Gilmore 
Grant Major 
Costume Design by
Glenys Jackson 
Makeup Department
Marjory Hamlin .... hair stylist
Marjory Hamlin .... makeup artist
Cheryl Newton .... wig maker
Elle Stephenson .... hair stylist
Elle Stephenson .... makeup artist
Production Management
Owen Hughes .... production manager
Lisa Kissin .... unit manager
Janet McIver .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jessica Hobbs .... second assistant director
John Maynard .... second unit director
Malcom Robertson .... third assistant director
Corrie Soeterboek .... first assistant director
Art Department
Bob Asquith .... scenic artist (as Bob Askwith)
Graham Aston .... art department assistant
Meryl Cronin .... set dresser
Nicky Marshall .... art department assistant
Lyndsay Meager .... stand-by props
John Miles .... construction manager
Russell Munro .... carpenter
Horace Newton .... carpenter
Annette Patrick .... set finisher
Paul Radford .... scenic artist
Trevor Tutte .... carpenter
Sound Department
John Dennison .... dubbing editor
John Dennison .... sound mixer
Robert Lennon .... assistant sound editor
George Lyle .... boom operator
Graham Morris .... sound recordist
Tony Vaccher .... dubbing editor
Tony Vaccher .... sound mixer
Camera and Electrical Department
Amanda Clark .... clapper loader
Allen Guilford .... photography: second unit
Brian Harris .... grip
John Maynard .... still photographer
Peter McCaffrey .... assistant camera
Sean O'Neill .... generator operator
Danny Williams .... gaffer
Casting Department
Alex Boyd .... casting assistant
Faith Martin .... casting: Australia
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Lesley Burkes-Harding .... assistant costume designer (as Lesley Burkes)
Susan Hackshaw .... stand-by wardrobe
Trixie Woodill .... stand-by wardrobe
Editorial Department
Joyce Alchin .... negative matcher
Margaret Bourke .... negative matcher
Theo Brandt .... assistant editor
Arthur Cambridge .... color grader
Jane Cole .... assistant editor
Mary Dennison .... assistant editor
Melanie Oliver .... assistant editor
Music Department
Keith Ballantyne .... score recordist
Graeme Myhre .... score mixer
Other crew
Tina Andreef .... assistant to director
Monserrat Baste-Kraan .... production coordinator: Spain
Juan Antonio Caballero .... production runner: Spain
Anna Campion .... production assistant: London
Jan Chapman .... script editor
Lynn-Maree Danzey .... script supervisor
Greg De Marigny .... production runner
Katherine Fry .... production assistant
Moira Grant .... production assistant
David Hazlett .... production assistant: London
Lisa Kissin .... location manager
Sam Thompson .... production coordinator

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for sensuality and language
158 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Kerry Fox gained two stone 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 »
Movie Connections:
Two SistersSee more »


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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful.
A Biography of Beauty, 26 December 2007
Author: Andy (film-critic) from Bookseller of the Blue Ridge

Campion's work throughout the years has been inspirational, dark, moving, and powerful. Her ability to bring characters alive through words, actions, and emotions cannot be matched by many directors in Hollywood today. For this critic, her work is reminiscent of a female Lars von Trier, in which her ability to bring these larger than life characters out of their shell transforms them into darkened characters which evoke inspiring (yet saddening) events. As I watched "An Angel at my Table", I was reminded of Bess' journey with her husband, and consequentially her life, in Trier's "Breaking the Waves". Campion, without a doubt, is a director that stands on her own two feet and this film is pure example of that. To begin, Campion's direction is flawless. This is nearly a three-hour long biography of Janet Frame's life from young girl to the author she became. For some directors this may create an opportunity to enhance other characters, to trivialize smaller events so that we can do bigger things, or to just push along, very slowly, until we all nod off from boredom. Believe me; I have sat through my fare share of stunningly dull biopics. Campion proves she is better by breaking the film into three segments (three parts of Frame's autobiography), giving us amazing imagery coupled with a brisk pace that doesn't loose any of its translation or excitement. Her use of colors, the boldness of Frame's red hair, the powerful background of New Zealand (and eventually Europe) challenges us to pay closer attention, giving us not just a story worthy of our minds, but also our eyes and heart. The colors also provide a vivid counterpoint to the harsh realities of what Frame faces, her fears and her erroneous placement into hospital.

I thought this film was flawless, thus I can continue to babble on about how much I enjoyed Campion's film technique and style. She allowed us to make our own decisions on Frame, but also filmed in a style that never cramped our viewing space. We were never forced to just focus on Frame, but we did because Kerry Fox gave us this pure, uncut portrayal of Janet Frame. Due to this originally being filmed for New Zealand television, I can only assume it eliminated Fox from being nominated for an Academy Award, but she 100%, who heartedly, hands-down deserved it. Her performance, from someone I had never seen before, was phenomenal. She literally transformed herself into this character, every step that Fox took on screen she was taking it in the way that (we can only assume) Frame would do it as well. What I am trying to say is that while I never saw Janet Frame herself, Fox never went out of the character we were first introduced to. Fox's Frame grew with each frame, exposing herself differently to us and giving us a new side of her each time. Again, I am drooling on myself, but "An Angel at my Table" is one of those films that should be watched by film students eager to learn how to get into the mind of their characters. This would prove to them that there is more than just what is written on the page, and fully demonstrating how to bring a soul into a man-made story. Kerry Fox was everything you wanted to see on screen, she was emotional, sensitive, caring, unquestionably curious, scared, and yet completely and utterly human. Coupled with Campion's direction, the two take what could have been a bland film and transformed it into one of the greatest performances over the past 20 years.

For what other reasons should you watch this film? If you aren't as impressed with the direction or Fox's performance, Criterion packs the DVD with plenty of bonus features, but as well as an amazing transfer. The sound, the music of Frame's life, is breathtaking. It accompanies the vision and Fox's actions perfectly. The song sung by the sisters on the beach of New Zealand still remains with me today, nearly four days after my viewing of this film. The other actors are very good in this film, alas; I cannot say anything further because my focus was entirely captured on Kerry Fox. Yes, she was that amazing. The bonus features on this disc, as mentioned before, are great to learn more about how Campion directed this film as well as her thoughts via an audio commentary. In essence, the Criterion release of this film is the only way to watch this. It is a flawless disc for a flawless film. I am excited and proud to have this within my catalogue of films.

Overall, in case you haven't been paying attention this entire time, "An Angel at my Table" was nothing short of perfection. When I raise this film up to other biography based films, there isn't one that compares. Campion's work continues to impress as she grows, developing her strengths in other genres, and pushing actors to new limits beyond what we expect, i.e. though battered by critics, see Meg Ryan's performance in "In the Cut". "An Angel at my Table" has a perfect blend of score, outstanding visuals, enthralling storytelling, and again, this powerful ability to control her actors and expect nothing less than their best. Kerry Fox should be studied by students in this film, Campion's direction glides this actor from scene to scene, but Fox carries it all on her shoulders, with pride and with power. This was not an easy film to create, but with Campion and Fox behind the helm what could have been a very dull, overly dramatic biography on the great Janet Frame, transformed into this staple of modern cinema, a map (so to speak) for others who wish to create films based on real people – "An Angel at my Table" would lead you straight to the gold. Watch it. Be impressed. Than watch it again. Rinse, wash, repeat.

Grade: ***** out of *****

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