Despising her modest upbringing, Angel’s lively imagination is brought to the attention of Sam Neill’s nurturing publishing agent, and when her fluffy romantic prose strikes a chord with the public, she dives headlong into a stormy romance with Michael Fassbender’s fiery painter. As with Ozon’s salty chamber drama ‘Water Drops on Burning Rocks’, ‘Angel’ feels like it’s been patterned on one of Fassbinder’s late period ‘women’s pictures’, with the central character exhibiting similar egotistical dimensions to, say, a Petra von Kant or a Veronika Voss.
However, this film lacks the passion, verve and subtle meaning that came naturally in the work of Ozon’s German inspiration. And while there is a strange satisfaction to be had from a lead heroine who’s not constantly baying for your affection (often, it’s quite the opposite), Ozon’s film plays a difficult hand, never settling for all-out high kitsch or straight melodrama. One of the year’s most charming failures.