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The Stone Angel
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Stone Angel More at IMDbPro »

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37 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

I liked it.

Author: saynathirajah from United States
22 February 2008

I saw the movie recently and really liked it. I surprised myself and cried. This movie is in the same niche genre as "Away from Her" - or even "The Bucket List" but handles the whole aging theme with incredible authenticity. It's really really tough to have the main character as unlikable as Hagar. The director does a masterful job with the challenge. Hagar's hard to understand. Her world has hard edges and she isn't a warm endearing woman at all.

The first scene gets this across without any compromise. Hagar (Ellen Burnstyn) is being taken to a nursing home by her son and daughter-in-law. She figures it out en-route and freaks out. Her edges are really hard. She is mean. She is belittling and selfish. She is a stone. I didn't like her - not even a little bit.

Throughout the course of the movie, we get insight. We find out why she doesn't like petunias, why she favors one son over the other, how her losses have formed her character... I started to see the angel... and I started to like her. I especially liked her when she poured out her secrets to the boy in the shack. Ellen Burnstyn, you are a brilliant actor. Kudos. Kudos. Kudos. What a scene!

This isn't a "feel good" movie, but it is certainly a movie that brings the viewer to empathy. I understand more clearly that hard edges in a person's life are there to protect, they are there for a reason...

Hagar isn't my mother - she isn't even my mother-in-law or neighbor... but parts of her are present in many women (and men) in my life. Those parts somehow make more sense to me now that I've watched The Stone Angel.

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22 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

I was so moved by this picture.

Author: Bean-24 from United States
20 February 2008

I was very moved by the story and because I am going through something similar with my own parents, I really connected. It is so easy to forget that someone whose body is failing was once vibrant and passionate. And then there's the mistakes they made and have to live with. I loved Ellen Burstyn's performance and who is Christine Horne? She's fantastic! A real find. There is probably the most erotic scene I've ever seen in a film, yet nothing was shown - it was just so beautifully done. Overall the look and feel of the film was stunning, a real emotional journey. Cole Hauser is very very good in this picture, he humanizes a man spiraling downwards. I liked the way the filmmaker approached this woman's life, never sentimental, never too much - just enough to hook us in, but not enough to bog down.

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21 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Powerful - Edgy and Authentic

Author: sharonjsimpson from Canada
20 February 2008

I had a chance to see a screening of this movie recently. I believe that it will be in theaters in Canada some time around Mother's Day. If it is in a theater near you... GO! It's not a funny feel-good movie - it's more along the lines of a feel and think movie.

The director does an excellent job of character development - letting you into the heart, mind and hurts of Hagar little by little. At first, her attitudes and behaviors don't make much sense. As her story unfolds, she becomes someone you can understand. As in life... understanding brings empathy. I found her likable by the end of the movie - particularly when she opens up her heart to the young man in the shack by the lake.

Hagar's relationship with her two sons is painful - and reflective of so many of our own experiences in this world. Her youngest son, John, who is full of life and adventure takes the viewer to the very edge of their seat - and into the kind of raw emotion that is so authentic and rare.

It's fun to see Ellen Page acting in this movie. She is so very different than the young woman that she plays in Juno. It gives me an even broader appreciation for her acting ability. If you loved her in Juno, you'll love her in The Stone Angel.

Of course, there is Ellen Burnstyn as Hagar. There is likely no way of expressing the power of acting as strongly as the ability for the actor to make you forget every other character they have ever played. Never once in the course of this movie did I ever think of Ellen Burnstyn - I always and only thought of Hagar. She swept me into her character - hook, line and sinker.

Kari Skogland's capacity to capture on film this renowned book by one of Canada's most cherished authors is impressive. She brilliantly brings to the screen both the stoney and angelic parts of this complex woman, Hagar - the stone angel.

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22 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

So true to the novel

Author: boyeilela from Canada
8 January 2008

What I loved about the on-screen adaptation of The Stone Angel is that it stayed so true to the novel! Great film! As an avid reader, I find the worst thing about film adaptations is that the book somehow gets lost in translation. You can tell the Stone Angel team was careful not to let this happen with this film.

Ellen Burstyn was an excellent casting choice for the role of Hagar and she is definitely a movie superstar. However, I think the Canadian actress (Christine Horne) chosen to play Hagar in her younger years also did an incredible job that warrants great praise. I haven't seen any of Horne's previous work but I will definitely seek it out after seeing her Stone Angel performance.

I heard the Canadian theatrical release of The Stone Angel is going to happen in Spring or Summer 2008. I can't wait to see it on the big screen again!

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:


Author: laurafeeleus from Canada
9 July 2008

I saw this film in Winnipeg recently - appropriate, given the location used. I first read Lawrence's book back in the 70's and for me, it's always been a very powerful picture of the trials of aging in our society. It resonated when I was young, and it resonates even more now. When the film came out, I was keen to see if the story could survive. and was thoroughly impressed, especially with Ellen Burstyn's performance. She manages to give us a complete human being, even though the character is generally cranky and judgmental - someone that you wouldn't want to live with. It's great to be able to see favourite characters come to life so authentically.

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12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

If you loved The Notebook, then you'll surely find Stone Angel to be another gem!

Author: supadude2004 from Bangkok, Thailand
26 July 2008

I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed this most thoughtfully delivered drama, which owing to its rather unimpressive 6.6 rating, I nearly missed; as I rarely give the time of day to any movie rated below 7/10. Having said that, I'm so glad I gave Stone Angel the viewing it so very much deserved. And so should you, if you are one of the increasingly rare sensitive, soulful and thoughtful sorts of person left on this earth in living form.

I must say that in many ways (though not all), viz. its themes, execution, style, production etc., Stone Angel very much reminded me of the much praised "The Notebook". I am so surprised that other commentators didn't pick up on the many similarities which repeatedly struck me throughout this movie, so I can only assume that those who've written comments have yet to see the Notebook. They may not share any Alzheimer's theme, yet I can confidently say that if you very much enjoyed "The Notebook" you will certainly find much to engage your time most fruitfully with "The Stone Angel". But even If you've not seen The Notebook, nor read the book on which this move is based, (which, incidentally, I haven't either) you should definitely find much to hold your attention firmly - as long as your favourite genres don't include fast paced action thrillers. This is a movie for thinkers and those who like to reminisce about time's passing, how life changes as the years pass, and what might have happened in one's life as one gazes back through the years.

This bizarrely underrated yet great movie really deserves a rating of approximately 8/10. I can only blame its current lowish rating of 6.6/10 on the 11% of idiots who gave it 1/10. After all it has attracted less than 300 votes at the time of my writing this comment. Nonetheless, if those 11% who gave it the lowest ranking possible were really expecting car chases and explosions why didn't they look... for even a few seconds at the movie's premise and promotional lines? Oh dear... Whatever the world is coming to, don't miss this most underrated gem of a movie - but only *if* you have a brain (i.e., your top ten doesn't include Transformers, Fight Club nor The Terminator).

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12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

a wonderful job

Author: canuck1972 from Canada
9 May 2008

As perhaps one of the few Canadians who did not read the book in high school, I thought I would add my comments. Seeing the movie without knowing the story beforehand in no way detracted from the film. The characters have so many complexities, everyone can relate to them in their own way. The brilliance of the adaptation is that everyone is allowed to project their own perceptions onto the lives of the characters, rather than being spoon-fed an opinion. You can love them or dislike them, and still feel the emotional impact of the movie. Wonderful performances by Ellen Burstyn and Christine Horne really bring the characters to life. I'd highly recommend it.

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15 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Never fully develops its characters

Author: Howard Schumann from Vancouver, B.C.
24 September 2007

In Canadian director Kari Skogland's film adaptation of the Margaret Laurence novel The Stone Angel Ellen Burstyn is Hagar Shipley, a proud and cantankerous woman approaching her nineties who wishes to remain independent until the very end, stubbornly refusing to be placed in a nursing home by her well-meaning son Marvin. Filmed in Manitoba, Canada and set in the fictional town of Manawaka, The Stone Angel is a straightforward and conventional interpretation of the book that has been required reading in Canadian high school English classes for almost half a century.

The title of the film comes from the stone statue erected on Hagar's mother's grave which serves as a metaphor for Hagar's inability to express emotion during her tumultuous lifetime. Burstyn brings vulnerability and humor to the role but is a bit too likable to fully realize the ego-driven, self-defeating character who managed to alienate her wealthy father, her well-meaning but alcoholic husband, and both of her sons. As she nears the end of her days, she reflects that "pride was my wilderness and the demon that led me there was fear. I was alone, never anything else, and never free, for I carried my chains within me, and they spread out from me and shackled all I touched".

Confronting having to spend her last days in a nursing home, Hagar looks back at her life and looks at her failed relationships, her recollections shown in flashbacks without voice-over narration. The story begins with a dance that she attended as a young girl. Chaperoned by her Aunt Dolly, she meets her future husband, the previously married Bram Shipley (Cole/Wings Hauser), a poor farmer whose reputation in the town is sullied because of his association with the Native American population. The young Hagar is played by Christine Horne who is exceptional in her first feature role. Despite Hagar's pleading, her relationship with Bram is rejected by her cold and rigid father whose refusal to attend the wedding starts the marriage off on the wrong foot. This is exacerbated by his leaving all of his money to the town of Manawaka, condemning the young couple to a life of poverty.

Going through the motions of her marriage to Bram, Hagar withdraws from social activities to prevent being rejected by the town's upper classes. When she produces two sons, Marvin (Dylan Baker) and John (Kevin Zegers), she is unable to give them the love that they need. "Every joy I might have held in my man or any child of mine or even the plain light of morning", she reflects, "all were forced to a standstill by some break of proper appearances…When did I ever speak the heart's truth?" Like the biblical Hagar who fled to the desert because she could not tolerate further affronts to her pride, Hagar leaves Manawaka to live in Ontario but eventually returns to the Shipley farm.

As the scene shifts back to the present, Hagar runs away to an abandoned house near the ocean that she remembers from her childhood to escape from being placed in a nursing home by Marvin and his wife Doris (Sheila McCarthy), Here she meets a young man named Leo (Luke Kirby) who takes an interest in her and compels her to look at and take responsibility for the mistakes she made in her life. The Stone Angel pulls out all the emotional stops but never fully develops its characters to the point where I felt any stake in the story's outcome, although the spirited performance by Ellen Page as John's devoted but naive girlfriend and the moving final scenes bring a new energy to the film's second half.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A travel across human relations and broken dreams

Author: brujomafufo from El Salvador
21 March 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is about basically human relations, and the interaction between them. The main character is an old lady who at the twilight of her life starts a journey to her past, doing an analysis of how she lived her life. This journey is precipitated because of the sons economic crisis and his intentions to put her in a nursing home. It is a very honest look to some issues that we all ask ourselves at some point in life, and there is plenty of secondary ideas to discuss in this movie such as family legacy, real love, marriage or destiny. although this type of movie melodramas are nothing new, this one can be useful to watch it with family members to discuss some ideas. There is a good performance by the actors and the characters are very believable, but because of the time some characters are maybe not fully developed. I really recommend this movie for a quiet Saturday afternoon.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A movie that doesn't disappoint compared to the book - for once!

Author: marissaptak from Canada
10 June 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this movie last night after waiting ages and ages for it to be released here in Canada (still only in limited release). It was worth the wait and then some. I am a very avid reader of Margaret Laurence and was excited to see that this novel was being turned into a film. I actually ended up liking the movie better than the novel. I liked that the character of Bram Shipley was a bit less harsh, and that there seemed to be more of a love story between Hagar and Bram, which made the scenes at the end of Bram's life that much more moving. The loss seemed stronger. Hagar was not any more likable on film than in the book, but Ellen Burstyn was a genius in this role. She WAS Hagar through and through. Christine Horne was brilliant and has many more great things ahead I am sure. Her scenes with Cole Hauser were electrifying. I could go on and on, overall a 9 * out of 10. Fantastic and can't wait for it to come out on DVD, a must own for my collection!

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