|Directed by||Rebecca Miller|
|Starring||Miranda Stuart Rhyne|
Charlotte Eve Blythe
Angela is a 1995 drama film directed by Rebecca Miller and starring Miranda Stuart Rhyne, Charlotte Eve Blythe, and Anna Levine. Miller's directorial debut, it won awards at the Sundance Film Festival, the Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film and the Gotham Awards.
Angela is a 10-year-old girl trying to cope with a dysfunctional family and is on a quest to "purify" herself. Her parents, Mae and Andrew, are former performers who have resigned themselves to the loss of their dreams. They are now having problems in their relationship. Mae has drastic mood shifts that bring her from manic happiness to utter misery. Andrew tries to hold everyone together, but Mae's vacillations are becoming more than he can manage.
Angela tries to cope by inventing an imaginary universe of 'order' for herself and her 6 year old little sister, Ellie. Left to figure out everything for themselves, she grabs at scraps of religion, superstition, and fantasy to try to make some sense out of the world and understand the difference between good and evil.
Adrift, she and Ellie concoct magical rituals and have visions of fallen angels and the Virgin Mary; reading signs in the way a towel falls off a chair or a tool falls off a truck, they set off to find their way to heaven. They wander through the neighborhood, meet a lot of strange people, and try to find a way to absolve themselves of whatever 'sins' they may have committed, and 'go to heaven'.
At first, the stories that Angela tells Ellie are mainly meant to scare her into submission. But as time goes on, and her mother succumbs to mental illness, Angela becomes obsessed with the idea that the only way her mother is going to get better is if she and her sister can wash away all of their sins.
Angela may have inherited her mother's mental illness that is now beginning to manifest itself. Angela does appear to display some common attributes of what could be described as religious mania brought on by schizophrenia or a similar mental illness that involves visual and auditory hallucinations.