City of Angels

Note: no spoilers here

“I wait all day, just hoping for one more minute with you, and I don’t even know you.”

The great cinematography and lighting in the fantasy romance-drama City of Angels brings the idea of angels, especially an angel named Seth, played by Nicolas Cage, to the audience in a fascinating way.

Meg Ryan plays a doctor named Maggie who Seth encounters in his daily activities including numerous visits to hospitals.  The film becomes a personal journey for Seth as heartwarming drama and romance fill the story with feeling and purpose.

Cage’s subtle, quiet performance works well and his focused dialogue helps audiences understand the films’ approach and perspective. Ryan is equally impressive and delivers dialogue that audiences can easily relate to. She asks the big questions while digging deeper into her own life purpose and profession.

Set in Lost Angeles, City of Angels is loosely based on the 1987 film Wings of Desire (Der Himmel über Berlin), which was set in Berlin, and was directed by Brad Siberling (A Series of Unfortunate Events).  The angel characters navigate through the material world as their observations and interactions mold the emotion with the human characters.

The plot, adapted by screenwriter Dana Stevens (Blink, Safe Haven, For the Love of the Game), is powerful with a pace that’s not too subdued.

The great music soundtrack filled with great songs from musicians including Paula Cole, Goo Goo Dolls, Jimi Hendrix, Sarah McLachlan, and U2 combined with the musical score by Gabriel Yared (The English Patient, Cold Mountain) boost the emotion further as the audience is treated to a mature plot full of great dialogue full of ideology, reality and poignant questions.

The leading cast gets great supporting roles from Dennis Franz (NYPD Blue) and Andre Braugher (Gideon’s Crossing) who play angels Nathaniel and Cassiel respectively. Nathaniel’s unique status gives Seth hope that he can be with Maggie while Cassiel guides Seth throughout this personal journey.

This recommended (*** out of four stars) tearjerker gives the audience several heartwarming, bittersweet moments in a worthwhile visual work. City of Angels is rated PG-13 for sexuality and language.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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