101 user 59 critic

The Dreamlife of Angels (1998)

La vie rêvée des anges (original title)
In Lille, two penniless young women with few prospects become friends. Isa moves in with Marie, who's flat-sitting for a mother and child in hospital in comas following a car crash. Isa is ... See full summary »


16 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young man from the countryside of Marseille comes to the city, hoping to find a job. But circumstances will drive him to become a robber.

Director: Erick Zonca
Stars: Nicolas Duvauchelle, Yann Trégouët, Jean-Jérôme Esposito
Ponette (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A four-year-old girl tries to come to terms with the sudden death of her mother.

Director: Jacques Doillon
Stars: Victoire Thivisol, Delphine Schiltz, Matiaz Bureau Caton
Wild Reeds (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In a village in the Southwest of France, 1962. Maite and Francois are 18 years old. They are friends, not lovers. In Francois's classroom, there are Serge, whose brother has just married to... See full summary »

Director: André Téchiné
Stars: Élodie Bouchez, Gaël Morel, Stéphane Rideau
Venus Beauty (1999)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Employees of a beauty parlor in search of love and happiness.

Director: Tonie Marshall
Stars: Nathalie Baye, Bulle Ogier, Samuel Le Bihan
Ridicule (1996)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

To get royal backing on a needed drainage project, a poor French lord must learn to play the delicate games of wit at court at Versailles.

Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Charles Berling, Jean Rochefort, Fanny Ardant
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Ben works in a morgue. Ben's wife left him and he is into various kinds of alternative sexuality. Teresa dies of an ecstasy overdose on the dance floor. When she is brought to the morgue, ... See full summary »

Director: Didier Le Pêcheur
Stars: Élodie Bouchez, Jean-Marc Barr, Martin Petit-Guyot
Julia (2008)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A woman tries to extort money, using a young boy as bait.

Director: Erick Zonca
Stars: Tilda Swinton, Saul Rubinek, Kate del Castillo
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Three men, three women, opposites, possibilities, and tastes. Castella owns a industrial steel barrel plant in Rouen; Bruno is his flute-playing driver, Franck is his temporary bodyguard ... See full summary »

Director: Agnès Jaoui
Stars: Anne Alvaro, Jean-Pierre Bacri, Alain Chabat
Savage Nights (1992)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Jean is young, gay, and promiscuous. Only after he meets one or two women, including Laura does he come to realize his bisexuality. Jean has to overcome a personal crisis (he is ... See full summary »

Director: Cyril Collard
Stars: Cyril Collard, Romane Bohringer, Carlos López
Kings & Queen (2004)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Parallel storylines tell the current state of affairs for two ex-lovers: Nora's a single mother who comes to care for her terminally ill father; holed in up in mental ward, Ismael, a brilliant musician, plots his escape.

Director: Arnaud Desplechin
Stars: Emmanuelle Devos, Geoffrey Carey, Thierry Bosc
Vagabond (1985)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A young woman's body is found frozen in a ditch. Through flashbacks and interviews, we see the events that led to her inevitable death.

Director: Agnès Varda
Stars: Sandrine Bonnaire, Macha Méril, Stéphane Freiss
Fleuve noir (2016)
Director: Erick Zonca
Stars: Vincent Cassel, Romain Duris, Sandrine Kiberlain


Cast overview, first billed only:
Isabelle 'Isa' Tostin
Marie Thomas
Patrick Mercado ...
Jo Prestia ...
Francine Massenhave ...
La gardienne
Zivko Niklevski ...
Le patron Yougoslave
Murielle Colvez ...
Le chef d'atelier
Lyazid Ouelhadj ...
Le vendeur de billets
Frédérique Hazard ...
La mère de Marie
Jean-Michel Lemayeux ...
Louise Motte ...
Sandrine Val
Rosa Maria ...
La première infirmière
Corinne Masiero ...
La femme du Hollywood
Xavier Denamur ...
L'homme des patins


In Lille, two penniless young women with few prospects become friends. Isa moves in with Marie, who's flat-sitting for a mother and child in hospital in comas following a car crash. Isa is out-going, unskilled, with hopes of moving south to warmer climes. Marie usually is either angry or detached. Then, while Isa begins to visit the child in whose flat they live, going to hospital to read to her, Marie slowly falls for a rich youth. At first Marie keeps him at bay, then she not only pursues him, she begins to dream he is her life's love. When Isa tries to warn Marie, their friendship flounders. How will Marie handle the inevitable? And once they lose the flat, where will they go? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some strong sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

16 September 1998 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Daydreams of Angels  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$59,333 (USA) (2 April 1999)


$1,726,187 (USA) (30 July 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Isa: I'd like to see you when you realize that you need other people.
Marie Thomas: I'll send you a photo.
See more »


Referenced in High Fidelity (2000) See more »


Happy House
Written by Steven Severin and Siouxsie Sioux,
Performed by Siouxsie and the Banshees
Courtesy of Polydor Ltd. (UK)
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Remarkable simple and honest
13 May 1999 | by (Houston,TX) – See all my reviews

Think of desperate couples in cinema and you conjure up Joe Buck and Ratzo from "Midnight Cowboy" or "Thelma and Louise". After seeing the beautifully done French film, "Dreamlife of Angels", you must add Isa and Marie to that list. "Dreamlife of Angels" triumphs because it is a story simply told and acted with such real-life honesty that you feel intimately tied to the main characters by film's end. It also helps that it is filmed mostly with a hand-held camera giving close ups and studied portraits of two people's alienated lives. Isabella is twenty-one, moving from town to town with all her worldly belongings on her backpack, intelligent yet strangely without much of a future. Marie is the same age and in the same rut, seemingly without any anchor herself although she does have a flat she is 'house-sitting' since the mother and daughter occupants have been involved in a tragic auto accident. They want to chain smoke their way through life, devoid of wealth and ambition. There is much insight into their broken lives when Isa remarks that her father left her mother for another woman when she was young while Marie counters that having separated parents is better than to have an abusive father living together with her victimized mother. The title of this film suggests an angelic life but it is clear from their bleak existence that it is a wish and a yearning rather than reality. Isa and Marie do get to share each other's misery. And their desire not to follow the cookie cutter mode does unite them for awhile (the film makes pointed references to a sewing factory and an electronics workplace where everyone is doing the exact tedious chore). However Marie falls prey to her blind passion to love and be loved and cannot tolerate the conscience personified by Isa. For it is Isa that nags about loyalty to friends, about the scoundrel boyfriend Chris who will only break her heart and about a bond of fidelity toward Sandrine, hospitalized in a deep coma and someone Isa knows only from reading her personal diary. "Dreamlife of Angels" could have passed as another soap opera if not for the genuine performances of Elodie Bouchez as Isa and Natacha Regnier as Marie. Their smiles and grimaces are heartfelt and it is their portraits which illuminate a most telling story of love, betrayal, and finally resignation.

28 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
heavenly, beautiful sorrow! gingko
My impressions mob61uk
Would like to know the name of the song vpalme2
NC-17 rating.. demonspike357
Suggestions vppn
Music in the last sequence ultrasaiyen4is
Discuss The Dreamlife of Angels (1998) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: