Critic Reviews



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The endlessly resourceful Nicolas Cage, as a celestial angel, and a terrifically engaging Meg Ryan, as a pragmatic surgeon, create such blissful chemistry that they elevate the drama to a poetic level seldom reached in a mainstream movie.
An odd hybrid but a successful one. It marries the lyricism and heavy atmosphere of a European art film with the soaring spirit of a Hollywood love story.
Chicago Sun-Times
What I did appreciate is that City of Angels is one of the few angel movies that knows one essential fact about angels: They are not former people. ”Angels aren't human. We were never human,” observes Seth. This is quite true. Angels are purely spiritual beings.
Neither Ryan nor Cage indulges in their usual excesses -- hers a perky, chipmunk vivacity and his a rampant goofiness that's always struck me as disingenuous…doesn't try too hard, doesn't lean on or overexplain its spiritual underpinnings and doesn't push for tears. As a result, it turns out to be pretty effective in drawing them.
For all the "touched by an angel" sentimentality, the movie's eerie, slightly menacing vision of black-clad angels lurking in the shadowy corners of unsuspecting lives is genuinely haunting.
City of Angels will probably work better for some people than it did for a crusty fellow like me. I feel guilty that I don't like this movie more. I think the devil got the better of me.
Christian Science Monitor
Many will welcome the movie's interest in spirituality, but some may wonder why it's couched in a celebration of sensual pleasures ranging from sex to cigarette smoking.
Even if you accept this plot contrivance, the consummation of this union of souls isn't very emotionally involving -- it lacks that transcendence you associate with stories in which love knows no bounds.
Chicago Reader
If you've never seen the lovely Wenders film, maybe you'll be charmed by this low-grade variation, all of whose best qualities--such as the airy crane shots poised over city vistas and freeways--can be traced back to the original; otherwise you might run screaming from the theater.
Needless to say, in the age of inferior remakes, this would-be homage -- a sort of Wim Wenders Lite -- is a mawkish debasement of its source material.

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