Angel (Romola Garai) is a spoiled, selfish brat who, though she hates reading, decides she wants to write romance novels for a living and refuses to listen to anyone's advice or words of caution. Anyone who dares give any will be not only rebuffed, but peppered with sharp insults and sneers.
At first, because Angel is beautiful and charismatic, she not only gets away with her behavior, but excells, becoming a popular writer and buying the mansion of her dreams. Life, as far as she's concerned, is designed to suit her. And when it doesn't, she can make it that way in her head: her mother isn't a poor grocer, no, she's a brilliant concert pianist, and don't you dare say otherwise!
So when she falls in love with handsome painter Esme (Michael Fassbender, who plays a lot of scummy guys--what's up with that?), of course he'll fit her expectations too. He's not going to be a philanderer, or marry her just for her money, or grow violent and hateful. Not a chance...
I'm sure I've said before how sick of perfect protagonists I am, and I loved how Angel the movie was about a girl too deeply flawed to be reformed, or indeed, to want to reform. Angel was petty and snobbish, unable to see reality, and the story showed consequences for that rather than Mary-Suing her or brushing her sins away.
As entertainment, Angel has a very soap opera-ish quality, which mostly works in its favor, but occassionally went way, way overboard so a few scenes were ridiculous rather than dramatic (Esme and Angel first kiss in pouring rain which just about washes them out to sea). The acting is great all around, the sets and costumes are beautiful. Overall Angel isn't perfect, but it's well done with much more interesting characters than usual for a melodrama.
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