- Actors: Vanessa Redgrave, Ray Liotta, Catherine McCormack, Trevor Morgan, Ron Livingston
- Directors: Peter O'Fallon
- Writers: Peter O'Fallon, Grace Duffie Boylan, James Eric, Jamie Horton
- Producers: Brad Krevoy, Glenn S. Gainor, J.P. Pettinato, John Hamilton, Lisa M. Hansen
- Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC, Import
- Language: English
- Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
- Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Number of discs: 1
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: Fox Video (Canada) Limited
- Release Date: June 25 2002
- Run Time: 94 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
- ASIN: B000065U31
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A Rumor of Angels (Sous-titres français) [Import]
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Oscar® winner* Vanessa Redgrave (Howards End) leads a dazzling cast, including Golden Globe nominee** Ray Liotta (Hannibal), Catherine McCormack (Spy Game), Ron Livingston ( Band of Brothers ) and Trevor Morgan (Jurassic Park III), in this touching drama aboutthe limitless power of friendship and love. Devastated by the loss of his mother, twelve-year-old James (Morgan) endures a lonely summer on Cape Cod until he befriends Maddy (Redgrave), the crazy old lady who lives by the lighthouse. But when James father (Liotta) discovers the otherworldly nature of their conversations, he forbids their friendship putting James newfound belief in the power ofloveand Maddy's belief in the power of lifeto the ultimate test! *1977: Supporting Actress, Julia **1986: Supporting Actor, Something Wild
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For some two years, young James Neubauer (Trevor Morgan) has struggled with the loss of his mother, and a contrary attitude born of self-reproach has created a seemingly unbridgeable chasm between him and his father, Nathan (Roy Liotta), who is often away on business, and the relationship he has with his stepmother, Mary (Catherine McCormack), is tentative at best. His real problem, though, lies in the fact that he is simply unable to express the feelings of darkness that have since the accident encroached upon his soul. Of those around him, he seems able to relate only to Nathan's younger brother, his Uncle Charlie (Ron Livingston); it's something, but not nearly enough.
His life takes a turn, however, when circumstances bring him into contact with an eccentric old woman, Maddy Bennett (Vanessa Redgrave), who lives alone in an old house by the sea. Something from her past strikes a chord that produces a bond between them, and Maddy's insights into life and loss soon begin to have an effect on James. But Maddy has ways and ideas that to some are strange; and conflict arises when Nathan gets wind of the relationship that has formed between his son and Maddy, and when, for better or worse, he determines to see it stopped.
As a storyteller, O'Fallen has a nice touch; he wastes no time in getting right to the heart of the drama, moving it all along even as he is setting it up. It's an effective approach, in that it puts you in the story very quickly and allows for some reflective moments without retarding the pace or development of the characters or the story. And the way he inserts "flashes" of flashbacks to the accident throughout the film gives the viewer some real insight into what's going on in James' head. It's not a revolutionary technique, by any means, but O'Fallen knows how to use it well, and to great effect. He provides the action with a sense of real time, which makes the relationship between Maddy and James convincing as it develops, and as this is the pivotal aspect of the film, it makes it credible and believable. This is a story of two unlikely people finding and making an impact on one another's lives, and O'Fallen does a good job of avoiding the maudlin sentimentality to which such a story could be predisposed. And he does it by tempering the sentiment with real emotion, rather than resorting to melodrama to sell it, which O'Fallen obviously realized would have been entirely ineffective. Instead, he takes the high-- albeit harder-- road, and keeps it real, which in turn takes the film to a higher level. O'Fallen has a discerning eye and the capacity to understand human nature, as well as the ability to translate it convincingly to the screen.
Young Trevor Morgan came into this project with an impressive resume that includes such films as "The Sixth Sense," "The Patriot," "Jurassic Park 3" and "The Glass House," and he has obviously prospered artistically from his experience, which he indicates with his work here. Morgan's portrayal of this conflicted young man is mature, and he resoundingly captures James' attitude and state of mind in terms that are real and convincing. To make the film work, Morgan has to convey emotions that, due to his particular situation, must transcend the typical complexities of youth; and he succeeds in doing so. He also develops his character honestly, as evidenced by the manner in which his relationship with Maddy proceeds. It's a solid performance, with a quality that is natural and altogether affecting.
The highlight of the film, however, is the performance turned in by Vanessa Redgrave, as Maddy. With this portrayal, Redgrave creates a character that is the very affirmation of the joys of life, as her Maddy fervently embraces it in all it's myriad aspects, running the full gamut of emotions as she does so. This is a role that allows Redgrave to break loose and give herself over totally to the character, and she immerses herself in Maddy, this unique individual to whom reality is but a canvas upon which she may impose her own version of it, while keeping her own counsel and living as she will. It's a vibrant performance, touching and poignant and alive, and arguably one of her best in a long, long time. This is work that is truly "Redgrave," which attests to her endless capacity and talent as an actor, including her ability to so profoundly touch her audience.
Liotta, McCormack and especially Livingston are effective in their respective roles, as well, offering strong support to Redgrave and Morgan, who are clearly the stars of the show. In retrospect, though, it's the strength of one performance that adds to the strength of another, transferring and sharing as it does a collective energy that insures the success of this film.
The supporting cast also includes George Coe (Dr. Jenkins) and Michelle Grace (Lillian). A film that will make you feel, as well as think, "A Rumor of Angels" is satisfying entertainment that encourages you to take pause and take stock of the things that are truly important.
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