After years of gleeful, near bi-polar genre shifting, France’s greatest living film parodist, Francois Ozon (5x2, 8 Women, Sitcom), makes the film that every gay teenager, who has grown up in the latter part of the 20th century, would kill to make.
Based on the 1957 novel The Real Life of Angel Deverell by popular novelist Elizabeth Taylor and also inspired by the curious life of forgotten British novelist Marie Corelli (allegedly Queen Victoria’s favourite novelist), Angel is the campest rags to riches story you will ever see.
Naturally gifted but impoverished young writer Angel (Romola Garai, stunning) takes her scribblings to kindly publisher Théo (Sam Neill). Before long, her lurid romantic fiction has made her the toast of London, but Angel is a difficult and self-centred personality. As she accumulates wealth she becomes obsessed with Esmé (Michael Fassbender), the brother of her dedicated personal assistant Nora (Lucy Russell). Artist Esmé is a cad and a philanderer but Angel must have him at all costs.
With its stilted dialogue, Mills and Boon aesthetics and lavish mise en scène Angel should be a sugar-coated, nausea-inducing disaster. But it’s hilarious and thoroughly entertaining. It’s a celebrity morality tale with feathers and boas. Ultimately Angel is the kind of film you will love or despise with every core of your being. If you still remember the television series Lace with fondness or get a buzz out of reading the backs of Jackie Collins novels then this could be your film of the year, or any year. (Paul Dale)
GFT, Glasgow, Mon 15‐Wed 17 Sep.