[box cover]

Angela

Rebecca Miller, following a brief and mediocre acting career with appearances in films like Consenting Adults and Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, slipped off-screen in 1995 (and hasn't been back since) to write and direct this lyrical indie glimpse into childhood fantasia. Miranda Stuart Rhyne stars as the sad-eyed title character, a 10-year-old keenly aware of her mother's fragile mental state. Affected by the turmoil at home, and showing a touch of her mother's psychosis, Angela creates a fantasy religion inspired by the gothic revivalism practiced in her small rural town. Dangerously protective of her six-year-old sister Ellie (Charlotte Eve Blythe), Angela leads her through a series of treacherous purification rituals and quests intended to cleanse them of sin and lead them to Heaven. Miller, daughter of famed playwright Arthur Miller (and, after Angela, wife of Daniel Day Lewis), displays a knack for creative, engaging and realistic writing, in addition to an ease with actors and a director's gift for tone. While Angela's climax doesn't necessarily deliver the emotional pay-off it promises, the film is an original and confident debut. With Anna Thompson, John Ventimiglia and Vincent Gallo. IFC Films presents Angela in full-frame transfer (1.33:1) which exposes a few conspicuous boom microphones, raising the suspicion of a non-OAR presentation (which is odd, as IFC frequently airs films in a letterbox format on its cable outlet). The source print shows some wear, typical of low-budget fare, while audio is Dolby 2.0 Surround. Includes a commentary by Miller. Keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr



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