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City of Angels
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Reviews & Ratings for
City of Angels More at IMDbPro »

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Author: Ruairidh MacVeigh from United Kingdom
27 March 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is an... interesting little film, and certainly a curious one. While many consider it to be a dumbing down of the movie it was based on, the 1987 art-house film called 'Wings of Desire', there still are a few touching elements to this film that keep it afloat. But at the same time there are a lot of things that really don't do it any justice.

So what's the sketch? Nicolas Cage plays an Angel named Seth, who, like the other Angels, watch over humanity and act in many different ways to protect them. In one of their many roles, Seth plays the Angel of Death, taking the spirits of those who have passed and guiding them to everlasting paradise. Whilst overlooking the desperate attempts of a surgeon named Maggie (played by Meg Ryan) to give a man life-threatening surgery, he is amazed by her determination to keep the man alive, even though her efforts are ultimately in vain. Seth soon forms an attachment to her, and makes himself known, soon desiring to give up his Angelic stature to become human so he can live his life with his new found love.

First, let's talk about the bad stuff. Nicolas Cage, although a very good actor, wouldn't have been my first choice. He doesn't really look or sound the part, my preference being to him in action movies such as the Rock and Con-Air. His scenes come off less romantic and more, well, creepy. Meg Ryan plays her part well though as the determined surgeon, pulling off her lines and role in a way you can find believable.

The next big problem is the story, which is quite literal and not particularly subtle. Although there are quiet moments and subtle scenes in it, these are offset by Seth taking a literal fall from a tall building to denote his Fallen Angel status, truncated moments later by a brutal mugging. The ultimate goal of Seth is also a bit more 'shallow' to my mind, with his motivation to be with Maggie not being based on a long lasting and loving relationship, but immediately with them losing their clothes and making friendly under the covers. Indeed sex is one of the most serious commitments to any relationship short of marriage, it does seem like a bit of a rush to that particular finishing line, which I found rather jarring.

But what about good stuff, of which there is quite a bit. The emotional scenes are played really quite well, especially the death of a young girl at the beginning and her guidance to Heaven by Seth, as well as a tragic but somewhat predictable passing later in the movie.

But for me the best part of this entire movie is the soundtrack, with the absolute gem that is Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls being well worth the price of admission!

So, to summarise, this movie is really a movie with its heart in the right place, but some of the routes taken to that particular heart being a little, well, risky. Whilst Nicolas Cage, the unsubtle nature of the story and some of the predictability can take you out of it, the emotional scenes, human interaction and that fantastic soundtrack was enough to see me through this film!

Definitely a brain-disengaged movie, but a good film for a rainy Saturday afternoon!

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A wonderful film message and great cast.

Author: oscar-35 from working in Movieland
6 July 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

*Spoiler/plot- City of Angels, 1998. A heart doctor struggles with the complexities of life and death with the help of a spiritual being that turns into a common human.

*Special Stars- Meg Ryan, Nicholas Cage, Dennis Franz.

*Theme- Love is the most important and powerful emotional of all.

*Trivia/location/goofs- Shot in Los Angeles because it's the "City of the Angels". NIck and Dennis DID sit over 40 stories high to get the shot over urban Los Angeles. They had a few drinks of bourbon to accomplish that scene.

*Emotion- A wonderful film message and great cast. I'm a little biased on this point of this review. I worked on the film for many weeks and enjoyed the cast & crew. article LINK:

*Based on- The German cinema film "Wings of Desire".

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Nicholas Cage, I didn't knew you had it in you for such a role! :)

Author: Zoheb Haider from Cincinnati, Ohio
27 April 2014

Okay, so this is a movie made on the backdrop of our guardian angels and yes I believe in them. Nicholas Cage plays Seth who falls for Maggie played by Meg Ryan, yes the astonishingly cute Meg Ryan. For all I could remember, Nicholas Cage is all about action roles but this shade is a must watch too. A fantasy story, an angel falling for a beautiful soul on earth and it ends with the most unexpected of endings, the lady dies in her angel's arms.. As sad and teary that sounds, I kinda have my peace with it. For true love is not always about the years together but sometimes that one tiny out-of-the-world true moment is all that is enough to cherish an entire life with someone's thoughts. That was the learning and it was delivered to perfection!

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Really was a bad movie.

Author: horrorfanaticgirl from United States
4 April 2014

As a teenager, I loved this movie. I thought it was romantic in a tragic way, the way that only true love can be real love. As an adult I see this movie differently. Meg Ryan is flat and shows that she doesn't have a wide acting range. Cage and Ryan have no chemistry together, there was no real depth or emotion from either of them. I was they had cast Braugher as Seth (he was the only character I wanted to see more of, that smile!) and someone else as Maggie, left out the artsy flyovers and angels hanging out on road signs, then it might have been a decent movie. Dennis Franz was another character that brought the movie up a notch, the rest phoned it in.

Something else that bothered me, some of the music must have come from "Elevator Music: Greatest Hits", it didn't fit at all. The soft piano melody was sad, but the rest awful.

Good idea (I realize it was based on the German movie), poorly executed.

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It could be... it should be... what if..., bleh

Author: kitsune_vook from México
18 March 2014

It's a shame to see how people focus more on "what it could/should be" instead of enjoying what they have in front of their eyes.

Maybe the movie came from a classic (I just learned that today) but before knowing that, for years and years I've liked it so much.

If we focus only on this movie, despite where it comes from, what you liked it from other movie and what you were waiting, you get a good enjoyable movie.

It's not an action one, it's a love story with just a few to none action scenes so saying "it's boring" it's not a valid option.

So I'll just say, if you haven't seen the old classic (Wings of Desire) you'll pretty much like this one

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City of Angels is a classic love song

Author: jack reeves from United Kingdom
4 March 2014

City of Angels is that rare movie that taps into the same emotions as the best pop songs. It's not a deep movie. It's sentimental and it hits all the right emotional buttons.

Like many great pop songs it celebrates the power of romantic love. In this instance, it celebrates the fantasy of the perfect love and lover as an angel. Because angels are divine and don't tell lies and make promises they don't intend to keep.

Both men and women find this movie romantic, and that's unusual.

Now, this movie is nothing to do with 'Wings of Desire', the film by the German auteur Wim Wenders - except for the original concept. It's definitely not a remake and implying it is sells both films short. They could not be more different: one is Coke and the other is Champagne.

A lot of people were disappointed by this movie because they expected to see an adaptation of a European Art film without subtitles. Lovers of art films need to learn to read subtitles.

For me, City of Angels is simply that one unforgettable summer. It's a glorious night of slow dances under a night sky full of stars. An ode to that one incredible impossible love and how close a dream came to being real.

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Stop staring Nic!...

Author: FlashCallahan from Leicester, United Kingdom
12 February 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Seth is an angel who accompanies the spirits of the recently dead. Seth has never been human, so has never experienced touch or taste.

He comes across Dr. Maggie Rice, a brilliant young heart surgeon who is devoted to her profession and her patients.

Seth has the power to let himself be seen but Maggie finds him far too mysterious. He also meets a patient, Nathaniel Messinger, who has news for him - he too was once an angel like Seth but chose to fall to Earth and become human for love.

Seth makes a decision on his future, which does not turn out as he had expected....

If you really want to get soppy with your loved one, then this is one of those movies that will guarantee tears come the end of the film, as its one of those films that ticks every box in the romance genre.

Made at the height of his career, when every film he made struck gold, Cage plays Seth with puppy dog eyes for the duration of the movie, and every mortal thing is amazing to him, but, he's really good at his role.

Ryan is Ryan, playing the ditzy surgeon with so many choices and decisions after a tragedy.

But Franz carries the movie and brings much needed warmth and love to the whole film, because if he wasn't included, the film would feel very sterilised and machine like.

Seeing the film years later though did get me asking questions I wouldn't normally such as, what will happen to Seth? The guy has no financial stability, qualifications, or skills. I know its petty, but see the film with this in mind.

The other thing is that Seth can be a little creepy at times, literally getting in Ryan's face and just following her about, the stalker angel if you would.

But all in all, its a love story given the Hollywood spin, Wings Of Desire is a much better film, but this is still good stuff, even if its by the numbers.

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I should have watched this movie 16 years ago!

Author: roxyplourde from United States
15 January 2014

I have watched a lot of movies in my life and seen some good ones and bad ones. Actually, I know every year what picture is going to win the Oscar for best picture. Well, I read the reviews along time ago about City Of Angels and decided not to watch it. However, nothing was on TV the other night that interested me, and City Of Angels was on Starzs, so I decided to watch a little. I ended up watching the whole Movie. Then watched it again when it came back on. This picture was way under rated. Meg Ryan was brilliant. Nicolas Cage was the perfect person to play Seth. I don't think it was Nicolas''s best picture, but he was cool. I think they could have did the story line a little better, but the music made this movie even better. A class singers! It is a tear jerker, chick flick, but well worth for any guy to watch. The part that really summed up this whole movie was when Nicolas Cage was asked by his counter part Angel "If you knew this would happened, would you have done it. Nicolas quoted, "I give up eternity just to have touched her, held her, for just one day." Meg Ryan's acting made that very believe able. This could have won an Oscar if they changed the story line a little in the middle of the movie; However, kept the beginning and the end. Beautiful Movie, Excellent love story, Great cast, Wonderful music. I recommend watching it. It hits your heart and reminds me why I married my wife, she is an Angel.

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Need more life

Author: SnoopyStyle
20 September 2013

Based on the German film "Wings of Desire" (1987), Seth (Nicolas Cage) is an angel. They can't feel, taste, be touched, or seen. Their job is to bring the dead to the afterlife. Dr. Maggie Rice (Meg Ryan) is a sharp young heart surgeon who feels there's something more going on after the death of her last patient. One day, Maggie sees Seth. At first she thinks he's simply a patient at the hospital. But soon she realizes that he is much more mysterious than that, and she quickly falls for him. Nathaniel Messinger (Dennis Franz) is Maggie's patient, and surprisingly a former angel. He tells Seth his choice to fall to Earth.

This is a very slow movie. Nicolas Cage is doing his empty look, and his tired speaking voice. Meg Ryan does her best to inject chemistry into this film. It's a very slow romance and it works on that level. When he finally falls to Earth, he does a complete 180. Subtlety has never been Cage's strong point. It's too jarring, and too late.

The problem is the lack of humor. I think a few well placed jokes early can enliven the whole film. For a movie about life and death, they need more life in it.

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Director and Script's Games

Author: Morfeo from Colombia
2 August 1999

Now a days, a new strategy has been created for movie making: Playing with feelings. Lots of movies are made each day, with no base, theme or topic. How then can they earn some money? Its simple, by some type of stupid story, they just try to make their characters SO CUTE, the spectator looses all track of the film, and just centers on the character feelings.

When the film is over, they'll just say "The Film is Beautiful". You'll ask why, and the answer will surely be "The Angel was So cute! I think I fell in love with him..."

Understand what I mean? City of Angels is the prefect example of the Mind Game played on a terrible film to make it look great

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