An Angel at My Table-attachment0

An Angel at My Table

Movie Information

In Brief: A long, fairly leisurely paced biographical drama is drawn from the autobiography of New Zealand writer Janet Frame — a woman whose withdrawn shyness caused her to be misdiagnosed with schizophrenia and confined in a mental hospital. Told in three parts, the film examines her story with the kind of insight and humanity associated with Campion, and offers rewards for viewers who can tap into the approach and pace.
Genre: Biographical Drama
Director: Jane Campion (Bright Star)
Starring: Kerry Fox, Alexia Keogh, Karen Fergusson, Iris Churn, Kevin J. Wilson
Rated: R

Last time this ran, I wrote: “Jane Campion’s An Angel at My Table (1990), a film based on the autobiographical work of New Zealand writer Janet Frame, is like many of Campion’s films: a tale of the indomitability of the human spirit. In this case, that spirit resides in Janet Frame (Kerry Fox), a painfully shy, withdrawn young woman, whose oddness caused her to be misdiagnosed as schizophrenic, resulting in her confinement in a mental hospital. The truth is that she wasn’t schizophrenic at all, and would emerge from the experience to go on to write novels, plays and poetry. Her story is a fascinating one, as is the film that houses it. Campion’s film is broken into three parts—following Frame’s autobiography—each detailing a period in Frame’s life. Similarly, the role of Frame is handled by three actresses: Kerry Fox (adult), Alexia Keogh (adolescent) and Karen Ferguson (teenage). This device works extraordinarily well, and it’s virtually impossible not to accept that the three are the same person at different ages. However, the device is not the only thing that works.”

Full review:

Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present An Angel at My Table Friday, May 31, at 8 p.m. at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library).  Info: 273-3332,

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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