Friday, March 09, 2007

Friday Film Night - City Of Angels

This week at The Pink Heart Society our very own Trish Wylie talks about one of her all time favourite weepies City Of Angels...

She didn't believe in angels until she fell in love with one.

There's just something about a hero who would give up everlasting life for love, isn't there? It would be nice to think that this kind of thing happens around us and we don't even know. And I'll confess, I've always been a fan of Nicholas Cage's acting a la Con Air and the like, but he would never have *done it* for me as a romantic lead until I saw this film. And trust me, if you haven't seen this, then I'm here to tell you that he plays this role fabulously!!!

The movie is based on director Wim Wenders' magical German film Wings of Desire about angels who decide to taste human experience. In this version, directed by Brad Silberling, Nicolas Cage is Seth, the heavenly creature who will face the choice between eternity and love.

First, we see Seth and Cassiel (Andre Braugher) gliding through Los Angeles (the City Of Angels) with a host of their kind, perching atop skyscrapers and varying landmarks, listening to the murmured thoughts of humans struggling their way through life, laying on healing hands and escorting the dead to the other side. (When Seth always asks them what their favourite thing was - the child he escorts early on informing him it was 'pyjamas')

It is during one such chore that Seth encounters Maggie (Meg Ryan), a driven heart surgeon who is shattered when a patient dies on the operating table in spite of her heroic efforts.
The incident triggers a crisis of faith for Maggie, who is both shaken and comforted by the stranger who starts showing up at her side.

With his soulful eyes and magically innocent portrayal of Seth, Nicholas Cage is the perfect casting as a creature of purity slowly consumed by hunger for human knowledge. And Maggie is very believeable too - a woman of grit and intelligence driven by enormous feeling in a job where she holds peoples lives in her hands every day.

Are you God?
No, my name is Seth.

From the moment Seth watches Maggie weep in the stairwell, when she thinks she's alone, it's hard not to get caught up in the emotion of this film. And I think you have to put that down chiefly to the two leads - after all, we all know that it's the characters that make any story, right? Seth's innocence and curiosity, Maggie's cynicism and underlying need to hope just balance so well, that you know the sense of melancholy you can feel in the film can only be *fixed* the one way. These are two people who need each other. And it's that kind of poignant thread of need that always draws me into a well written category romance...

Longing to become closer to Maggie, Seth makes himself visible to her. Unfortunately, Maggie is engaged to another doctor, Jordan (Colm Feore), and soon she finds herself torn between the comfortable yet emotionally-dishonest relationship with Jordan, and her inexplicable attraction to Seth, a calm face of tranquility without a past. But because he is an angel, Seth is unable to truly love her, and he faces a difficult choice-- to spend eternity in his present form and never know the warmth of Maggie's touch, or to 'fall', giving up his divine existence, to fully embrace the human condition and be with Maggie.

What good will wings be if you couldn't feel the wind on your face?

It's when Seth meet's one of Maggie's patients, Mr. Messenger (Dennis Franz), a former angel whose appetite for worldly pleasure has landed him in the cardiac unit, that he realizes he might not be the first one to suffer the dilemma he's in. And the introduction of the ex-angel who savours everything life has to offer adds a splash of humor to the movie's tone exactly when it's needed.

But despite the fact that the movie really does make you believe that darkly dressed angels are among us, hanging out in libraries and gathering together on a beach to listen to the music in the sunset, it's Seth and Maggie's story all the way.

Seth: You're a good doctor.

Maggie: How do you know?

Seth:I have a feeling.

Maggie:Yeah, well that's pretty flimsy evidence.

Seth: Close your eyes. Just for a second... what am I doing?

Maggie: You're... touching me.

Seth: How do you know?

Maggie: Because, I feel it.

Seth: You should trust that. You don't trust it enough.

Sigh. And yes, if you've seen the movie then you'll know that it's at least a three hanky ending and should never be watched while suffering PMT; a fact I'm sure will ruin it for those of you who prefer the Happily Ever After our little category romances have spoiled us with... But I tell ya I don't know that I would change it. I found it magical, poignantly hopeful and in some ways comforting. And it inspired me to think about *other worlds* when I began playing with the longer book that keeps calling me back to the keyboard in between my Romances and Modern Extras. I think that if a movie can touch and inspire you then it hasn't done too badly...

As to what Maggie would say was her favourite thing when her time came:

When they ask me what I liked best, I'll tell them, it was you.

Really, doesn't everyone hope for a love like that??? So do you know what you'd say was your favourite thing???

I'm giving this a Pink Heart Warm & Fuzzy rating of 9/10 - but only 'cos of the sad end!

Trish's second Sexy Sensation is out in Australia and New Zealand now! Breathless! is one of her favourite books to date and was recently reviewed at The Pink Heart Society Review Blog...

To find out more about what Trish is up to and for book releases and competitions you can visit her new Website or Her Blog

And don't forget to come back to The Pink Heart Society later this month when Trish will be doing a special feature on St. Patrick's Day!!!


  1. I HATE THIS FILM. And, yes, it *is* BECAUSE they play it so beautifully.

    Do not watch it unless everything in your life is rosy!

  2. I'll vote with Meg, like Nicolas...but this sounds too heart wrenching!
    Enjoyed reading the review, Trish.


  3. I loved loved loved this movie, so beautiful and heartbreaking

  4. OOOHHHH was starting to think that NO-ONE was going to have enjoyed this!!!

    Next time I promise to pick one with a HEA - if nothing else because Natasha is a pain by instant meesenger if she DOESNT GET her HEA... Sigh...


  5. I too adored this movie. It is heart-wrenching and should be watched with a huge box of kleenex.