Seth (Nicholas Cage) is an angel, conveniently located in the City of Angels, Los Angeles. His job is to appear to dying humans and take them with him in a friendly manner. He has the ability to appear to the humans – whether they are dying or not. He has no sense of touch or pain. He doesn’t feel fear and he is pretty much an immortal.
Maggie (Meg Ryan) is a pretty and sensitive doctor who is in a semi-serious and not so passionate relationship with a fellow doctor named Jordan (Colm Feore) from the same hospital.
Observing Maggie, Seth becomes fascinated by this pretty, humane and emotional woman. Maggie finds herself attracted to this mysterious stranger as well. Obviously an angel is not supposed to fall in love, but it is already too late for Seth. But he can’t just exactly ask her out. And soon Maggie will want to know more information than he volunteers.
Help comes in the form of a hospital patient called Messinger (Dennis Franz), who also can see Seth. But unlike Maggie, this middle-aged man has a pretty good idea about what Seth actually is. As it happens, this man used to be an angel as well. But when he fell in love with a woman, he chose to be a regular mortal. It all takes one big jump. So, Seth has to choose between the world he knows and Maggie…
City of Angels is undoubtedly a sappy love story but it does come with Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan. And it is story was somewhat more refreshing than Meg’s other romantic roles. The movie also has a great slow-rock soundtrack featuring U2, Alanis Morisette, Goo Goo Dolls and more. Being the romantic that I am, I do love the unconditional love aspect of the story – and how these two really connect and see through each other’s souls. But there is one element that can make up for sappiness and this is what the movie lacks: a good ending. But I’ll get to the that in a minute. ,
Written by Dana Stevens- based on the German film Der Himmel über Berlin (incorrectly translated as Wings of Desire) from 1987. The German screenplay was written by Peter Handke, Richard Reitinger and Wim Wenders. City of Angels was directed by Brad Silberling.
Rated 6.4 on IMDB. Without the ending, my vote is a 6 or a 7. With the ending, I can even go as low as a 4.
And now, for those who have already seen the movie or the ones who just don’t mind major spoilers, here is why the ending breaks the movie:
Now, obviously there are many people who hated or disliked the movie as a whole or loved the film and found the ending to be just perfect. But as for me, I liked the movie a lot but despised the ending. Not just because an unhappy ending really renders Seth’s whole reason of being a human pointless but because the writer(s) chose the stupidest unhappy ending possible (I haven’t seen the German film so I don’t know if I am just blaming Dana Stevens or the others). What Meg Ryan does… I mean who does that? Seriously? Who rides a bicycle, eyes closed on a busy highway??? Even a suicidal or a masochistic person would prefer something else. But she is not even suicidal or masochistic, is she? She is blissfully happy….
If they were going to kill Meg Ryan, they could and should have at least gone with something less stupid. But I’d rather have a happy ending. Not just because I am a hopeless romantic –which I am- but I am a fun-loving, entertainment-obsessed romantic. So it is precisely because I love to have fun or at least get lost in a good story, I do demand a good ending. If it is going to be unhappy, it has to feel natural in the context of the story. I shouldn’t feel like the writer created tragedy for tragedy’s sake- which is a specialty of Nicholas Sparks and I really can’t stand how he ends his stories.
If you are a hopeless romantic, this is a must for you. If you have liked anything with Meg Ryan or Nicholas Cage, watch this. If you have a soft spot for tragic endings, by all means- this is the movie for you. But if you do want to watch something depressing yet naturally tragic with Nicholas Cage (where you probably wouldn’t have wanted or rationalized another ending) watch Leaving Las Vegas. If you want an in-your-face, realistic and very impressive Cage, watch Lord of War. And if you do want to watch a different kind of Meg Ryan movie, watch In the Land of Women, where the movie is definitely not about her ending up with the love of her life.
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