A fight with Joe leaves Louis badly scarred; Roy plays a final practical joke on Ethel; Prior wrestles the Angel and then addresses a review board in Heaven; Harper heads out West; Prior, outliving ...
God has abandoned Heaven. It's 1985: the Reagans are in the White House and Death swings the scythe of AIDS. In Manhattan, Prior Walter tells Lou, his lover of four years, he's ill; Lou bolts. As disease and loneliness ravage Prior, guilt invades Lou. Joe Pitt, an attorney who is Mormon and Republican, is pushed by right-wing fixer Roy Cohn toward a job at the Justice Department. Both Pitt and Cohn are in the closet: Pitt out of shame and religious turmoil, Cohn to preserve his power and access. Pitt's wife Harper is strung out on Valium, aching to escape a sexless marriage. An angel invites Prior to be a prophet in death. Pitt's mother and Belize, a close friend, help Prior choose. Written by
The Coke can from which Joe drinks in the 1985 time setting (outside Justice with Lou) has the label "Coca-Cola Classic", rather than "Coke" or "New Coke" (introduced on 23 April that year). The design of the can is from 2002, not 1985. See more »
It saddens me to read some of the negative reviews of this film adaptation of Kushner's brilliant Pulitzer and Tony-winning play. I guess some people simply can't see past their bigotry. (I find it revealing that most of the negative reviews appear to be written by people who clearly have no idea that Roy Cohn was a real person, and I bet they never heard of the Rosenberg's either.)
I was lucky enough to see the Broadway production of Angels with the original cast, and it was without question the highlight of my 25 years of theatre-going. While I prefer the stage version over the film (I usually do), Nichol's film does an outstanding job of capturing the brilliance of Kushner's script.
Personally, I believe that Pacino gives the performance of his career, and Streep is amazing in her three roles. The other performances are quite solid as well.
This film not only won a record 11 Emmys, taking the award for Outstanding Miniseries and all four acting trophies, it also won those same awards at the Golden Globe presentations plus four SAG acting awards. In short, it won practically every award it possibly could.
I often have my Theatre 101 students read this play. I now look forward to being able to show scenes from the film version as well.
Obviously, I recommend this film highly.
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