I’m a sucker for biopics about writers, partly because I find them inspiring and partly because the whole notion is so ridiculous. Could there possibly be any profession less cinematic than that of a writer? Sure, you can dramatize their lives, but the actual process of writing is deadly dull (that’s why they always use a montage).That dosen’t mean that Hollywood doesn’t keep trying and Angel (2007) by french filmaker Francois Ozon is now one of my favorites.
Angel is the fictional story of Angel Devrell, a narcissistic nincompoop who just so happens to have a talent for penning Victorian romances. Her penchant for purple prose makes her a superstar and she achieves everything she ever dreams of. WWI and tragic heartache eventually bring things crashing down around her.
It’s clear that Francois Ozon loves biopics as much as I do, but what the trailer doesn’t get across is the playfully over-the-top tone. This isn’t a parody by any means, but Ozon tweaks all the classic biopic cliches and turns them up a notch (like, to 11!). He also lovingly skewers the tropes of classic literary adaptation (think Masterpiece Theatre and the endless versions of the Jane Austen cannon).
It’s all pretty fantastic, with great performances from Romola Garai as Angel and the dreamy Michael Fassbender as her doomed lover Esme. I highly recommend it.