Tony Kushner's prize-winning play Angels in America became the defining US theatrical event of the 1990s, an astonishing mix of philosophy, politics, and vibrant gay soap opera that summed up the Reagan era for an entire generation of theatre-goers. Post-9/11 would seem to be too late for a film version--philosophy and politics don't always age well--but this 2003 HBO adaptation, ably directed by Mike Nichols, provides a time capsule of the '80s and reveals the deep emotional subcurrents that will give the play lasting power. The story centers around Prior Walter... (Justin Kirk) and Louis Ironson (Ben Shenkman), a gay couple that falls apart when Prior grows ill as a result of AIDS. But cancer is not the only thing invading Prior's life: He begins to have religious visions of an angel (Emma Thompson) announcing that he is a prophet. Louis, who doesn't cope well with disease and suggestions of mortality, leaves and starts a relationship with Joe Pitt (Patrick Wilson), a closeted Mormon who works for Roy Cohn (Al Pacino)--the real-life right-wing lawyer, notorious for his ruthless behind-the-scenes machinations. Add in Joe's depressed and hallucinating wife Harper (Mary Louise Parker), his determined but open-minded mother Hannah (Meryl Streep), a fierce drag queen/nurse named Belize (Jeffrey Wright, reprising his celebrated performance from the Broadway production), and you've still only begun to discover the wealth of characters and storylines in Kushner's ambitious work. The powerhouse cast (also featuring James Cromwell, Michael Gambon, and Simon Callow) is uniformly superb. The script has its weaknesses--some of the fantastic elements, including Prior's journey to Heaven towards the end, fall flat--but even what doesn't work is bristling with ideas and a ferocious desire to capture human existence in this time and place. --Bret Fetzer [show more]
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Please note this is a region 2 DVD and will require a region 2 (Europe) or region Free DVD Player in order to play. Academy Award-winners Al Pacino, Meryl Streep and Emma Thompson lead an all-star cast in a 6 hour HBO Films event, written by Tony Kushner based on his Pulitzer Prize-winning play. The film tells the story of a gay man (Louis Ironson) struggling with his compassion and fidelity as his partner (Prior Walter) faces the spectre of AIDS and dreamlike visitations by a prophet seeking Angel. Louis becomes involved with a N.Y. Supreme Court Clerk who wrestles with his career and sexual repression as his marriage to his Valium-addicted wife (Harper Pitt) unravels. Motivated to help her son, the clerk's Mormon mother (Hannah Pitt) comes from Salt Lake to the intimidating world of New York, while a controversial and legendary lawyer, Roy Cohn (a fictional re-creation of the infamous American conservative ideologue who died of AIDS in 1986), attempts to enlist the clerk in his defense as he is ravaged by a hidden disease and the demons of his own hypocrisy. Spanning the extremes of comedy and tragedy, love and betrayal, and life and death, Angels in America is a journey through the landscape of despair and hope that defines America at the end of the 20th Century. Actors Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Justin Kirk, Ben Shenkman, Mary-Louise Parker, Jeffrey Wright, James Cromwell, Simon Callow & Michael Gambon Director Mike Nichols Certificate 18 years and over Year 2003 Screen Widescreen 16:9 Anamorphic Languages English - Dolby Digital (5.1) Subtitles English ; Swedish ; Portuguese ; Hebrew ; English for the hearing impaired Duration 6 hours and 15 minutes (approx) Region Region 2 - Will only play on European Region 2 or multi-region DVD players.
HBO's highly acclaimed heavyweight six-hour TV drama, adapted from two Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway plays by Tony Kushner, 'The Millennium Approaches' and 'Perestroika'. Kushner also wrote the screenplay for the TV adaptation, which stars Hollywood stalwarts Al Pacino and Meryl Streep alongside British actors Emma Thompson, Michael Gambon and Simon Callow. Set in a turbulent New York City in the mid-1980s, the drama follows the interconnected lives of various New Yorkers affected by issues of the day including the conservative Reagan administration, AIDS, religious bigotry, angst about their sexuality - and miraculous spiritual visitations. The drama won six Golden Globe awards, including 'Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television'.