Thursday, September 9, 2010

Angels in America

This 6 hour mini series got me hooked and interested in the lives of the characters, only to end with a very 1990s (in a bad way) "intellectual" conversation about politics that undermined the whole sincerity of the dialogue and acting of the entire series, followed by an extremely pretentious (almost Gerry Springer style) concluding resolution, this is the aforesaid atrocity:

The film deals with the lives of several gay men from a variety of different backgrounds who coincidentally or otherwise end up playing a role in each other's lives. One guy leaves his partner when he finds out his partner has AIDS, because he can't face the reality of the situation. He goes on to meet a Mormon who is wrestling with gay demons while coping with the mental illness of his wife, and an evil lawyer comes to terms with dying and the ghosts of his past. The series is carried with a comic poignancy, and the ramblings of Lewis's rationalization are undermined by the emotion and bizarreness of reality throughout the film, this is what almost makes the end so disappointing, as the resolution of the film brings everyone down to Lewis's level of nonsense logic and a need to comment on the wider world to avoid the truth of personal chaos.

The Mormon's mother, played by Meryl Streep was portrayed with a lot of sensitivity and there were some excellent lines in the film that really were food for thought. It's just a pity that the series was shunted to an end, in what was too obviously a result of an attempt to transplant the end of the play on to the screen.

My favourite scenes in the movie both involve the Mormon characters, funnily enough. The first scene is when the Mormon wife talks to a museum manequin about change:

Harper: In your experience of the world. How do people change?

Mormon Mother: Well it has something to do with God so it's not very nice. God splits the skin with a jagged thumbnail from throat to belly and then plunges a huge filthy hand in, he grabs hold of your bloody tubes and they slip to evade his grasp but he squeezes hard, he insists, he pulls and pulls till all your innards are yanked out and the pain! We can't even talk about that. And then he stuffs them back, dirty, tangled and torn. It's up to you to do the stitching.

Harper: And then get up. And walk around.

Mormon Mother: Just mangled guts pretending.

The second is a scene on the beach from (8.20 to the end)

I thought the whole thing looked great, and the concept was a good one, but the ending really annoyed me for some reason, and made me think that the whole thing was more corny than my mood had suggested it was before.


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