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Angela (1995)

 -  Drama  -  January 1995 (USA)
6.5
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A ten year old girl named Angela leads her six year old sister, Ellie, through various regimens of 'purification' in an attempt to rid themselves of their evil, which she believes to be the... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Miranda Rhyne ...
Angela (as Miranda Stuart Rhyne)
Charlotte Eve Blythe ...
Ellie (as Charlotte Blythe)
...
Mae (as Anna Thomson)
...
Andrew
Ruth Maleczech ...
Sleepwalker
...
Preacher
Garrett Bemer ...
Tom
...
...
Darlene
Henry Stram ...
Man at Fair
Sara Caitlin Hall ...
Anne
...
Anne's Mother (as Francis Conroy)
Gerard Lyons III ...
Anne's Father
Rodger L. Phillips ...
Frank
Io Tillett Wright ...
Sam
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Storyline

A ten year old girl named Angela leads her six year old sister, Ellie, through various regimens of 'purification' in an attempt to rid themselves of their evil, which she believes to be the cause of their mother's mental illness. Precocious, to say the least, Angela has visions of Lucifer coming to take her and her sister away, and one of her remedies for this is for them to remain within a circle of their dolls and toys until they see a vision of the virgin Mary come to them. But such thinking can only lead to an ending befitting of her own mental state. Written by BOB STEBBINS <stebinsbob@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

January 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Angela und der Engel  »

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Did You Know?

Goofs

Boom mic visible. Several times throughout the film, a boom mic (and even part of the boom) is VERY clearly visible, mostly in outdoor scenes when the boom was more necessary. This is a masking problem on an early DVD release, and is probably present on any VHS release as well (the DVD is likely transferred from the VHS). The movie was filmed in academy ratio with the intent to mask it to widescreen, in which it was shown in theaters. When telecined to VHS/DVD for home use to watch on your TV set, or perhaps even for TV broadcast, it wasn't masked: black bars were not placed over the top and bottom to make it letterboxed for widescreen. This was commonly done in Pan&Scan versions of many theatrical movies for TV broadcast and VHS release so you could get the whole screen without those annoying black bars which would give you a smaller amount of image to squint at. Unfortunately, with the whole screen image you also get portions of the image that were not meant to be seen, such as boom mics and track lights on the top and cables and camera dolly tracks and crew-members feet on the bottom. Older DVD releases of many movies just copied the full-screen without remasking it, which would require a whole new telecine transfer from the original film source. Even some newer DVD releases INCORRECTLY masked some movies, as the bars either weren't covering enough or were disproportional (covering too much on top and too little on bottom or vice-versa), since the widescreen aspect ratio varies and WHERE you put the masks can vary in a single movie. This is a big controversy, and happens more frequently than you might think; see the 3-DVD release of the Back To The Future trilogy for a famous example of improper masking. Pretty much, whenever you see boom mics visible, it is almost always a masking problem on a video release (TV broadcast or VHS or DVD transfer); it is not the fault of the director or cinematographer or editor. See more »

Quotes

Angela: [thinking she is seeing the devil in front of her, hiding her eyes and praying] Mary, full of grace, take away this ugly face. Mary, full of grace, take away this ugly face.
See more »

Connections

References Mogambo (1953) See more »

Soundtracks

Angel Of Mercy
Performed by Greta Gaines
Written by Greta Gaines
Courtesy of Sweat Ride Music
© 1994
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User Reviews

 
The Devil & Ms. Miller
10 January 2008 | by (Bookseller of the Blue Ridge) – See all my reviews

"Angela", I should begin, was not your average film. It was a strong opening from Rebecca Miller, the spawn of playwright Arthur Miller and film vixen Marilyn Monroe, but where it suffered was that it felt too amateurish. Without biting my tongue "Angela" began impressively, strong opening with a family's move to a new home. The defined mother/father characters (albeit eerily similar references to Marilyn Monroe), two strong girl leads that seem to have genuine chemistry together, and an undefined era which allowed my imagination to flourish and ponder ignited "Angela" immediately. It was when the film moved into its second and third act, where it became alarmingly obvious that Miller was loosing her grasp on not just the film crew, but also the convoluted story itself. Visions of Lucifer, the Virgin Mary, a diluted neighbor, and the big elephant in the room – religion – seem to take priority over such important elements like character development, questionable motive, and family dynamics. Miller places so much focus on these symbolic references that this quality film begins to slip through her fingers. By the second act, where the two daughters embark on their own journey through this unknown town, which again is bombarded with referenced evils and unknown symbolism, that reality gets surpassed by a director who would rather shock than impress. The entire scene with the possible pedophile could have been an intense and memorable scene, but instead it falls short, because Miller is so focused on getting us to Lucifer that we only recognize this scene as a small blip on the radar. Again, I don't want to sound pessimistic about this film, Miller began with such a strong eye that I thought this was going to be an instant classic, but by the dull ending, "Angela" is so muddled that empathy towards the characters becomes greater than excitement for the film.

While our characters constantly have to play second fiddle to the symbolic religious references throughout the film, I must admit that they were eerie and interesting throughout bits and segments. Miller had a strong cast, a father who gave up everything for his family, a mother lost in her head (especially well played), and two daughters searching for meaning was an amazing dynamic – poorly defined – but amazing all the same. What I had hoped Miller would do was make these four characters the central focus of the story, but alas, it doesn't happen. The struggle between father/mother again are second to the religious symbolism, thus we lack the apparent emotion towards them. When all of these characters get to their final moments, we just don't care any further. We have given up. A scene was needed where the family reunites over a crisis that nearly tore them apart – cliché? – I believe it would have strengthened the characters and transformed this film from a simply symbolic picture into a family drama. While "Angela" was the obvious lead character, all of these in the immediate family were worthy (and powerful) enough to watch equally. They all carried their weight well, one just wishes we could have spent more time with them.

Finally, an issue needs to be addressed with this film that was neither mentioned in the audio commentary nor in many posts about this film, but when a director cannot clean up or recognize that a boom mic has made it into at least five scenes (extremely apparent) than something is wrong. One cannot say that this film is superb with technical failures happening all over the place. This is your blood and soul when you create a film; why not present it like it was a wrapped Christmas gift, not like it was just found in the sandbox? That small issue really lowered the standard for this film, making it just another amateurish independent film created by someone who carries a famous last name.

Overall, I wanted to like "Angela", I wanted to sit here and say that I was impressed with Miller's first outing, but alas, I wasn't. It was such a powerful opening, but it floundered so quickly. Miller's focus on the religious element, while defining for Angela, deeply ruined the rest of the characters. The family became a shadow, with no real emotion surrounding them, but instead reacting to the beliefs of Angela. I was drawn into Angela's mother's story, but received no gratification or explanation. I loved her father's desire to be a good dad, but again, sitting in a circle or becoming baptized was more important. I was misled by the goals, and consequently missed the "why" and "how" for the final act. Coupled with the laughable errors by the crew (this should have been an introduction to the first day of using a boom mic), "Angela" just fell through the cracks. It perhaps was the obvious borrow from "Gummo" or just the drowning of symbolism, but "Angela" will remain – for me – another independent film trying to make its mark. I am eager to see "Personal Velocity" if only to observe if Miller successfully saw the errors and made the corrections. "Angela" was a first draft film, with much needed corrections and red markings in the margins.

Grade: ** out of *****


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