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angels in america


I first heard of Angels in America through this Salon review and it left me intrigued. However, knowing how slowly Irish/UK TV (we get both here in Ireland) moves to get shows, both good and bad, from across the pond, I didn't read the review and then simply forgot about it. Why bother?

But then Channel 4 showed both parts of this six-hour miniseries Saturday and yesterday. It was a surprising experience. These days it's very difficult to walk into a theater or watch a show or anything where you haven't seen previews, opinions, discussions on it, etc. But it happened to me in this case. I had no idea what I was about to see.

What I saw was a great piece of art, funny, sad, and deep, all at the same time. There are moments when the characters turn to poetry mid-conversation and it almost feels (as the Salon review says) as if they're reciting Shakespeare. Al Pacino and Meryl Streep are excellent (as usual) but the other actors are on par with them, except maybe for Mary-Louise Parker, who doesn't quite pull it off. The story ostensibly centers around five gay men and two women whose lives are intertwined one way or another at the start of the AIDS pandemic in Reagan-era US. The writing is intensely political, but it never gets preachy. Magical realism is the order of the day. But there's more than that, for example people just trying to regain their balance in a world that is undergoing a massive tectonic shift, something some of the characters can perceive but not quite put their finger on, dealing with the ghosts of your past and the shadows cast by the future... Anyway, I don't want to ruin it for someone who hasn't seen it :), but if you can, check it out.

Categories: art.media
Posted by diego on February 9 2004 at 11:45 AM

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