The Worst Film Ever
the audience applauded
At first rather annoying in its heavy emphasis on reenactments, this movie ultimately proves fascinating, simply because the complicated, highly dramatic tale it tells still almost defies belief.
Although I seem to have had higher expectations than I thought, the movie is super entertaining.
Great acting and directing plus an ingenious plot line make "Angels and Insects" a movie worth watching. Returning to civilization from the Amazon, Mark Rylance is taken in by a wealthy, aristocratic family. He falls for the oldest daughter of the house, Eugenia, who is lovely but troubled. He thinks she is the most beautiful creature he has ever seen.What he discovers about the Alabaster family is a dark secret which shatters his world.The movie is beautiful to watch and a real thought provoker. I highly recommend it.
A fascinating film about people acting like insects. The costuming is beyond brilliant, but it is the actions of the people that really are striking in this film.The matriarch of the family is definitely a Queen ant or bee. She constantly gorges herself as the others flutter about serving her.But it is Eugenia (Patsy Kensit) who is the focus of the film. A poor naturalist (Mark Rylance) is madly in love with her, but her racist brother (Douglas Henshall) warns him that he is not of the right class and should be real. William (Rylance) flits ever so cautiously towards Eugenia's web and is ensnared. I am sure there is something beneath the surface here; maybe the same something that caused Eugenia's former fiancée to kill himself.But, it is not always the beautiful butterfly that attracts. Sometimes, it is a plain little ant like Matty Crompton (Kristin Scott Thomas), who is busily working on her own plans for William.This all takes place shortly after Darwin's Origin of the Species was published, and during the Civil War in America. Both colored the story.Upon the death of Mother, Eugenia ascends the role of Queen ant, continuing to produce heirs. At the same time, a collaboration of William and Matty results in a book being published.Then the shocking secret comes forth.Mark Rylance, Patsy Kensit, and Kristin Scott Thomas were all fantastic in this shocking tale.
A tough AS Byatt adaptation from Philip Haas which takes a cold look at Darwinism. Rylance's Mark Adamson is a ruined botanist who takes not only the charity of his patron Sir Harald Alabaster but, in time, his daughter Eugenia's hand. Something is not right though and tragedy strikes him a second time when he discovers her secret.Haas has created a lush film, overflowing with life as if the Alabaster house were a jungle itself. This is the irony of the film. A strange transformation seems to have taken place whereby the appropriately named Alabasters have lost the warmth and colour of a moral existence, a better life of which only Sir Harald, Mark and the discreet but ardent Matty Crompton seem to be aware. Kristin Scott Thomas gives the best of the performances as the intelligent but buttoned-down Matty. It's just a shame that her role is necessarily minuscule compared to the less engaging Patsy Kensit, well-cast but not particularly memorable as the frigid Eugenia, not that an unsympathetic Ryalnce does much to help her, I'm afraid. Douglas Henshall is ideal as the insipid Edgar. 6/10
I went into this movie with a lot of high hopes, as it had been recommended to me by many acquaintances. But, upon viewing it for the first time, I had to say it was a predictable mess. The actors, particularly Patsy Kensit, were so wooden and unbelievable that I thought of turning this film off a few times. It seems that the director could not make up his mind whether he wanted a class struggle period piece with a Merchant/Ivory feel or an erotic tale along the lines of The Lover. I was looking for some kind of purpose to the whole venture and found a trifling thread holding the whole thing together. If the formalities had been removed and the director had picked a certain direction with which to proceed, this film would have been infinitely better. 2/10