25 user 44 critic

An Angel at My Table (1990)

Janet Frame was a brilliant child who, as a teen, was misdiagnosed with schizophrenia. Explore Janet's discovery of the world and her life in Europe as her books are published to acclaim.


Jane Campion


Janet Frame (autobiographical books "To the Is-Land", "An Angel at My Table" and "The Envoy from Mirror City"), Laura Jones (screenplay)
18 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Kerry Fox ... Janet Frame
Alexia Keogh ... Janet Frame as adolescent
Karen Fergusson Karen Fergusson ... Janet Frame as a teenager
Iris Churn Iris Churn ... Mother
Jessie Mune Jessie Mune ... Baby Janet
Kevin J. Wilson ... Father
Francesca Collins Francesca Collins ... Baby Jane
Melina Bernecker Melina Bernecker ... Myrtle
Mark Morrison Mark Morrison ... Bruddie Frame as child
Katherine Murray-Cowper Katherine Murray-Cowper ... Young Isabel
Mark Thomson Mark Thomson ... Billy Delaware
Brenda Kendall Brenda Kendall ... Miss Botting
Paul Moffat Paul Moffat ... Dis McIvor
Blair Hutchison Blair Hutchison ... Bully Boy
David McAuslan David McAuslan ... Bully Boy


In 1920s and 1930s New Zealand, Janet Frame grows up in a poor family with lots of brothers and sisters. Already at an early age she is different from the other kids. She gets an education as a teacher but since she is considered abnormal she stays at a mental institution for eight years. Success comes when she starts to write novels. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sensuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Kerry Fox gained two stones (12.7kg) for her role as Janet Frame. She managed this by drinking liters of Coca-Cola, eating packets of chocolate biscuits and going on the pill. See more »


The streets of Ibiza have some features that surely were not present on the 50s, i.e., a "no parking" signal on one of the streets. Cars were very rare on the island those days. See more »


Referenced in Isle of Dogs (2018) See more »


Ay, Pilato
Performed by La Niña de los Peines
See more »

User Reviews

a writer's life, and not exactly a bed of roses
3 November 2010 | by mjneu59See all my reviews

In the ambitious follow-up to her celebrated debut feature 'Sweetie' Jane Campion presents yet another social misfit at odds with an unsympathetic world, drawing her inspiration this time from the autobiography of Janet Frame, a New Zealand writer who suffered eight years of electro-shock therapy after being misdiagnosed for schizophrenia. The film is structured in the form of a triptych, with the best moments (perhaps not surprisingly) all clustered in the first episode, showing the young Frame's childhood in a poor but literate household, always at the mercy of adult authority: teachers, doctors, and so forth. These early scenes aren't exactly meant to set a cheerful mood, but they look positively giddy compared to the rest of the film, the length of which eventually overwhelms its subject: watching the drab and lonely life of a painfully shy, pathetically insecure, repressed and introverted writer unfold over 158 minutes can be an oppressive experience. Campion's unique visual style is never less than interesting, but her technique of using sudden blackouts to separate short, seemingly unrelated fragments of narrative memory only underscores the difficulty of capturing on film the creative process of a writer.

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New Zealand | Australia | UK | USA


English | Spanish

Release Date:

20 September 1990 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

An Angel at My Table See more »

Filming Locations:

Ibiza, Spain See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,905, 27 May 1991

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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