Saturday 17 September 2022

Movie Review: Angel Of Mine (2019)

A psychological suspense thriller, Angel Of Mine is a story of an unhinged mother surrendering to obsession. The plot bounces between decent, repetitive, and unsatisfying.

In Melbourne, Lizzie (Noomi Rapace) is still grieving her infant daughter, who was among the casualties in a hospital maternity ward fire seven years prior. Now Lizzie's marriage to Mike (Luke Evans) has disintegrated, and she is struggling to maintain even partial custody of her teenaged son Thomas.

At a birthday party for one of Thomas' school friends, Lizzie spots seven-year-old Lola, and becomes convinced she is her daughter. Lizzie surreptitiously befriends Lola's parents Claire and Bernard (Yvonne Strahovski and Richard Roxburgh), and feigns interest in buying their house. Her behaviour becomes more erratic as she stalks Lola at every opportunity, and Claire realizes her family may be in grave danger.

Angel Of Mine is propelled by a mother's profound grief and unshakeable belief - against all logic - that her instincts are correct and everyone else is either wrong or lying. While the drama is naturally potent, co-writers Luke Davies and David Regal don't provide their main character Lizzie with much help. Her ordeal is sustained by nothing more than conviction, tilting the scale towards confirming a descent into madness.

Noomi Rapace tackles the role with lively tenacity despite the occasional dip into bathos, and her desperation finds a good match in Yvonne Strahovski's cool and collected turn as counterpart Claire. The testy battle of the mothers builds up a good head of steam, and despite repetitive scenes of Lizzie making awkward appearances around Lola (in a bedroom, at school ballet show, at a picnic, at a house party), director Kim Farrant keeps the suspense balanced on the correct side of rational.

The production values are glossy without rising much above movie-of-the-week standards, until far-fetched revelations are blurted out without context. Pat emotions triumph over difficult conversations as Angel Of Mine's mix of fire and fury somehow lands at a serenely unsatisfying backyard barbeque.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

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