Angels In America (2003)

19 Mar

STARS: ***

Dir. Mike Nichols

A powerful mini-series based on the pulitzer-prize winning play set in New York City in the 1980’s at the height of the AIDs epidemic. Over six hours in length the narrative covers relevant issues during the period (and still very much present today) centered around an ensemble cast. Prior (Justin Kirk) and Roy (Al Pacino) battle their infection with various supporters and antagonists who are on their own soul-searching journeys; Louis (Ben Shenkman), the conflicted lover of Prior; Joe (Patrick Wilson), a lawyer who looks up to Roy for guidance as he struggles with his homosexual desires whilst trying to uphold the idealistic mormon existence with overly anxious wife  Harper (Mary-Louise Parker); Belize (Jeffrey Wright), the nurse of Roy and best friend of Prior who tries upholding some type of peace between his friend and Louis; And Hannah (Meryl Streep), Joe’s mother who turns up in New York City from Salt Lake to solve her sons sexual ‘problem’.

One must experience this mini-series not as simply a mini-series. Nor a feature length film. Nor a play. One must expect this to be a hybrid between a stage performance and mini-series and essay social commentary. For the pacing is none like anything i have really experienced before in this format. So therefore, i would conclude that this narrative is unique in it’s entirety.

Dealing with many important themes of humanity and our society, Angels In America is a mini-series that not only transfers many techniques from the stage but experiments with magical realism in almost a Terry Gilliam manner. Coming off as autobiographical in approach one gets the sense that this is a story told from personal experience. With this in mind i felt obliged to give this narrative it’s due respect for it is a personal admittance and discovery originating from the deepest, darkest recesses of the creators life. This is a humbling position to be in as an audience member.


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