Movie Reviews

Angels In America (Mini-Series)

*** 1/2/****
Dir: Mike Nichols
2003 Color English 352 Min
Rated TV-MA

Watching Angels in America is an interesting experience. It is one of those movies that draws you in and gets you hooked. It is actually two movies in one (and therefore considered a mini-series when it aired on HBO). The first part Millennium Approaches is the stronger of the two, and the second part Perestroika is where all the payoff is.

I read the original play and saw a production of both parts back in college over 10 years ago. I remembered most of the basics of the plot, but a lot of the details had escaped me. This was a good thing as the combination had me wanting more. I also feel that watching the mini-series, I connected more with the characters than before. It might be that I am not a full theater away or trying to read, or the fact that I have a lot more life experience 10 years later and therefore can better appreciate it.

The entire movie is just a joy to watch. The acting from the entire ensemble cast is dead on and a treat to watch. I almost didn’t mind that Meryl Streep and Emma Thompson played multiple roles – though by the end of the second part, it was a bit wearisome.

One thing I disliked is the monologues. I guess they are necessary to stay true to the story and give us insights into the characters – it seems the character of Harper had the most of them and every time Mary-Louise Parker would dive into one, I just rolled my eyes and told myself, yep, it’s based on a play.

Obviously the topic of the movie is not for everyone – dealing with AIDS in 1985 and the complications people face and how people react is not a light subject. It is emotionally draining, but I think well worth the effort and I recommend people watch it.