March 14, 2007 0 By Fans
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The rise and fall of a young eccentric British writer, in the early 20th century.

Release Year: 2007

Rating: 6.0/10 (2,301 voted)

François Ozon

Stars: Romola Garai, Sam Neill, Lucy Russell

Angel Deverell comes of age in Edwardian Cheshire knowing she will be a great writer. Rising above her class (her widowed mother has a grocery shop), Angel finds a publisher and a wide audience for her frothy romances. With royalties, she buys an estate, then she's smitten by Esme, a rake from local aristocracy and an artist of dark temperament. She hires Esme's sister Nora, who dotes on her, as a personal assistant, and pursues Esme. Angel is grandly self-centered, coloring her world as if it were one of her novels. When the Great War breaks out and reality begins to trump her will, can Angel hold on to her man and her public?

Writers: Elizabeth Taylor, François Ozon


Romola Garai

Angel Deverell

Sam Neill


Lucy Russell

Nora Howe-Nevinson

Michael Fassbender


Charlotte Rampling


Jacqueline Tong

Mother Deverell

Janine Duvitski

Aunt Lottie

Christopher Benjamin

Lord Norley

Tom Georgeson


Simon Woods

Clive Fennelly

Jemma Powell


Alison Pargeter


Seymour Matthews

Norley Doctor

Una Stubbs

Miss Dawson

Jo Perrin

Publisher's secretary

A dreary city tenement provides backdrop to this tale of exclusion and the magic it takes to become accepted.


Official Website:
Official site |
Wild Bunch [France] |

Release Date: 14 March 2007

Filming Locations: Cuddington, Buckinghamshire, England, UK

Box Office Details

Budget: $15,000,000


Opening Weekend: €6,594
(29 April 2007)
(15 Screens)

Gross: $1,002,214
(27 March 2007)

Technical Specs



Did You Know?


Olivier Martinez was considered for the role of Esme.

User Review

La vie rêvée des anges

Rating: 7/10

It starts quite strangely for a movie about the life of a romantic
novel writer in the early XX century Britain, with a wannabe Danny
Elfman's music, an ugly pink opening, and an actress obviously too old
for the part she plays. But, as the movie goes on, if the strangeness
still remains, all this elements begin to make sense and create and
original, and I think, never experimented on screen, world. ANGEL is
indeed a really good surprise if you manage to accept and enter the
inner world that the movie describes, and the kitsch atmosphere of
Ozon's style (witch was for me unbearable in his previous movies, like
"8 Femmes", but that absolutely fits the subject of this movie). When I
learned that Ozon directed a movie in English about a young artist, I
was waiting for a sort of kitsch version of ESTER KAHN (the wonderful
movie another French director – Arnaud Despechin – made about a young
lady in Britain in the early XX century), but I couldn't be more wrong
: ANGEL is a sort of feminine (or Gay) version of Tim Burton's ED WOOD,
describing how a strong imagination – no matter how bad it is – can
completely recreates the world, and how you can fully lives in a
fantasy universe, when you believe hard enough in your talent and your
art .

The movie tells us the life of Angel (Ramola Garai, who has everything
to become the new Ludivine Sagner for François Ozon), from her
childhood, where she dreams, upstairs the family's grocery, of the
fastidious and glamorous life of a famous writer, to her success in the
house of her dreams : Paradise house, where she has everything she ever
dreamed of when she was young. The originality of this movie is that
everything is seen with Angel's eyes. And her eyes only see what her
imagination tells them to see, for she doesn't live in reality, but
always fills it with dreams, so that she can live as if she were one of
her romantic heroine. Whatever awful and sad the word might be, it
never touches Angel, for she always transforms it with her imagination
the way she wants. And imagination, she has plenty… Of course, her
world is a childish, puerile and kitsch world of a bad Barbara Cartland
's novel and the movie completely recreates it on screen, with all the
artifices it supposes : from the colors – that explains the pink – to
the situations : when she proposes Esme, the man she chooses to love,
the rain suddenly stops when he says yes, and a rainbow appears :
empirical reality doesn't exist here, for Angel is unable to see it.
But, and here's the all interest of the movie, the spectator, on the
other hand, is absolutely able to watch it.

This tension between the strong believing that Angel puts in her world,
and the ridiculous that the spectator sometimes sees in it, is mostly
tangible thought other character's eyes (like Charlotte Ramplin is the
more judgmental, she's the first to condemn Angel's books, but mostly
for personal reasons : she can't stand the pretentious and rude young
lady with whom her husband is falling in love, or Esme, the untalented
painter, who is also one of this ambiguous character, for he accepts
his wife universe, but is unable to really find his place in this
fictive world). And the movie constantly plays with this two degrees,
witch brings humanity, cruelties and sadness to the shinny but unreal
world it describes. That's also why this movie is so surprising : we
never know exactly where we are : is this a dream, when will it stops,
will reality goes after it in the end ? This constant instability
regenerates the spectator interest for this movie, and keep it far from
the classical costumed movie about the rise and fall of an English
women writer it could have been.

That's also why this movie reminds me of Tim Burton's ED WOOD, for,
beyond their differences, they both deal with the same thematic of the
triumph of an artistic imagination over the world, and the fall that
fallows this triumph, and they also share a melancholic tone, as well
as real understanding and compassion for untalented but passionate