An Angel at My Table (The Criterion Collection)
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- Audio commentary featuring director Jane Campion and director of photography Stuart Dryburgh
- A documentary about the making of An Angel at My Table
- Theatrical trailer
- Audio interview with Janet Frame, from 1983
- Photo gallery
- A new essay by film critic Amy Taubin and reprinted excerpts from Frame's autobiography
Top Customer Reviews
This is a wonderful portrait of the New Zealand author. Who was misdiagnosed as schizophrenic, she endured numerous treaments of electric shock therapy (over 200!) Spent eight traumatic years in a mental institution. And came very close to having a lobotomy!
It would be years before she would find the diagnosis of schizophrenia was wrong.
This movie examines Janet's early life to adulthood. A very hard childhood hampered by poverty. And many tragedies. Her older sister, Myrtle, drowned when Janet was young. One of her other sisters Isabel died (also by drowning!) when Janet was in college. And her older brother suffered from epilesy. In a time when there was not more they could do about it. He often had seizures, made him a vulnerable target for bullies at school, and it left him unfit for most work. And Janet herself suffered with terribly painful decaying teeth, she had to have ALL of them pulled at a very young age.
After her thankful release from the hospital she then went on a trip, first to England then to Spain. Where she met a young American poet, who she would formed her first relationship with.
It is a long film, but don't let that discourage you. There is never a dull moment. It's a facinating story. It's visually beautiful. Filled with tragedy but also funny and wonderfully touching moments. And the performances are fabulous. About an incredible woman who wasn't schizophrenic...just "different"
It's always remained one of my favorite films, the kind I can watch over and over.
Jane Campion made a very affecting and quietly powerful portrait of a writer who also was a gentle and genuinely humble woman. The film is never a sentimental manipulating story of a talented but misunderstood artist. It does not idealize Frame but it is a very honest and sympathetic portrait of an artist.
I imagine it must have been difficult for Campion to film the life of an author as inner directed as Frame (even her autobiographical work has as little to do with the outward world as Joyce or Beckett) but she pulls it off, and in spades. Born to a working class family in Australia, her father a railroad worker and mother a stay at home Mom (who at one time served as a housemaid for writer Katherine Mansfield), Frame's childhood is depicted beautifully with a magical realist style she would become famous for. Frame's instinctive sympathy for outcasts of society, the disabled, alienated, and mentally ill serve as a kind of omen for things to come. Toddling around like a mini Raggedy Ann with a briefcase that she could probably fit in, her sassy sister watches her awkward plight through life with a deep empathy and slight lack of understanding.
Janet felt most comfortable at home with her books, typewriter, and all her siblings around. Her first trip to college was, predictably, a complete disaster. Kerry Fox does an astounding job portraying shy introvert with nervous terror whose neuroticism could was all to easily mistaken by a well meaning teacher of Literature who mistakes a lack of hygiene for schizophrenia. His lies all too easily woo the young Janet into viewing her non existent mental illness as something romantic. "Van Gogh, Blake, you are in their company, Janet!" He brings a team of doctors into her dorm room with the suggestion that she "go somewhere to get some peace and quiet.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The 3 volume autobiography by Janet Frame is an amazing literary accomplishment. Powerful record of a New Zealand childhood in poverty leading to the writer's uneasy integration... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Patricia A. Condon
Janet Frame was an extraordinary sensitive individual without a social skin, she was socially awkward and reserved her self for creative expression in poetry, novels and short... Read morePublished 13 months ago by technoguy
Excellent movie dramatizing New Zealand's great writer Janet Frames' life based on Frames' autobiography by the same title. Read morePublished 13 months ago by L. M. Binder
Memorable biography...saw this when I was young and it touched me-I've always wanted this for my movie collection. I was ecstatic to find this on Amazon.Published 14 months ago by MariB
I can watch the movie and play the music over and over. And I do.Published 15 months ago by Flipperwilly