The movie is a study of a family of country gentry in Victorian England. William Adamson (Mark Rylance), a young scientist, is introduced into the Alabaster family by Sir Harald Alabaster (Jeremy Kemp) who is also fascinated by insects. William marries the elder daughter of the family and studies the amounts of insects in the garden of the villa. His - for the gentry - strange behaviors reveal at the same time their own failures and passions.Written by
This was thoroughly engaging and thoughtful film, with a rich and fascinating plot and characters.
The opening scene of the natives of South America dancing is a well edited opening, and the word 'Angels" appears over it. Indeed, all the Angels in this film are not in England (where the rest of the film takes place). William Adamson (Mark Rylance), a biologist who collects rare insects (especially the butterfly), survives a shipwreck and comes under the protection of an upper class English family. That's where he falls in love with Eugenia (Patsy Kensit). But every family has it's secrets.
Someone described this as "Merchant-Ivory meets Tennessee Williams", which is a perfect way to describe this film.
Several have complained about the actors, saying that there is not a single stand-out performance. I disagree, as both Rylance and Kristin Scott Thomas (in a performance worthy of an oscar nomination) acquit themselves well. The script is also very well written, and the costumes deserved the Oscar nomination.
One of the ten best of 1996.
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