City Of Angels Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
Hollywood knows that these are the selfish days of the Me Generation, so it designs angels who are as imperfect as us mortals. That’s Seth (Nicolas Cage), an angel who’s willing to give up his wings so he can experience physical feelings like the wind on his face, the cool rush of the ocean, and of course—sex.
It all begins with Dr. Maggie Rice (Meg Ryan), a heart surgeon. The invisible Seth is sent to guide Dr. Rice’s patient back home, but he has a problem keeping his mind on his work and winds up with his head in the clouds over Maggie. Seth finally decides to reveal himself to Maggie, posing as a friend of another patient she is attending to. They begin to build a relationship, but Maggie soon realizes that Seth is a little peculiar.
Perhaps it’s the snapshot where he appears as a bright blob. Or maybe when he cuts his finger off and it doesn’t bleed. But the biggest thing Maggie cannot accept is the fact that angels in this world cannot feel. For Seth to become Maggie’s real man, he must plunge into mortality—literally—by falling from an LA high-rise.
At this point the movie takes on a whole new feeling—a masterful work done by director Brad Silberling. You don’t realize that up to this point life has been tranquil. Seen through the eyes of an angel, LA is peaceful. Gunmen are unarmed by an angel’s touch, and the sunrise brings music to your ears. However, after Seth’s entry into mortality, the streets pound with traffic and criminals. Seth can’t even get past the reception desk to see Dr. Rice.
What’s unfortunate is this excellent cinematic contrast is sacrificed to unnecessary sexuality in depicting Seth’s relationship with Maggie. We see them having intercourse (back and side nudity) and making descriptive comments. Other concerns for parents are two scenes of rear male nudity, and the only mention of Deity coming in the form of expletives.
If LA is the city of angels, may they whisper into a few screenwriters’ ears.
Starring Nicolas Cage, Meg Ryan. Running time: 114 minutes. Theatrical release April 10, 1998. Updated April 14, 2009