Angels. Divine beings who act as messengers of GOD. As I child, I envisioned them as divine beings in human form, with or without wings, blond hair :), and robed in an overflowing cloth of white. But after watching City of Angels, my perception of these messengers was altered.
“What if an angel fell in love with a human being?” That is the very foundation of the 1998 movie, City of Angels, starring Nicholas Cage as Seth, an angel; and Meg Ryan as Maggie Rice, a heart surgeon who becomes Seth’s object of love. The film is a remake of the 1987 German film, Wings of Desire.
The film takes place in Los Angeles, California, where people live their lives under the watchful eyes of angels–angels clothed in black trenchcoat suits (the same kind that we saw in The Matrix). Every morning and afternoon, these angels gather by the seashore to watch the sunrise and the sunset, and to hear a majestic choir of voices singing glorious Gregorian chants (convening with GOD). One of these angels is Seth, whose responsibility is to guide those who are close to death to the next life. One day, while in an operating theater where he had to accompany the soul of a man who won’t survive heart surgery, Seth meets Maggie and becomes awed by her efforts to save the man’s life–all to no avail. Seth becomes infatuated with Maggie so he decides to become visible to her (the whole time, he is invisible), and they become friends. Their friendship seems to turn into mutual understanding although Maggie is already seeing one of her colleagues at the hospital.
In an unexpected turn, Seth then meets Nathaniel Messinger (Dennis Franz), one of Maggie’s patients. Nathaniel tells Seth that he was once an angel but decided to become human (to experience being a human being) through “the fall”. Seth considers doing this so that he can be with Maggie, doing what they refer to as “free will”. In the end, Seth decides to “fall”. He then gets to understand human nature and all that it is to be human. He and Maggie get together, but the question is, will they remain forever?
This movie taught me all about free will. We are free to choose what we decide to do as long as it is acceptable in GOD’s eyes, and is in-line with GOD’s plan. Just thinking that we have freedom gets me really good! But back to the movie, City of Angels has put in a risky take by interpreting angels in a light that is different from that set by society. I’ve read that critics have given it low ratings and I guess this is due to its interpretation. But I have to admit, the acting was great, the scenes were beautiful, and the emotions were stable. (Meg Ryan’s smile is so beautiful!) It may or may not be a tear-jerker and at times, may be misinterpreted for a thriller movie, but I found it refreshing and moving.