Sunday, January 20, 2013
Angels In America
Given the Oscar race is not too exciting until the SAGS and I haven't seen anything lately, (Although I will watch Beasts Of The Southern Wild soon and will see either Lincoln, Argo, or The Impossible, which one would you want me to review? Please tell me!) I've decided to write about Angels In America, Tony Kushner's famous Pulitzer Prize winning and Tony winning play that I read about a month ago and can't stop thinking about. I've also seen the movie, which I really like and will review as well.
Anyway, it is about two gay lovers in the 1980's named Prior and Louis and Prior has discovered he has aids and Louis, who is not the kind of person who can bear disease and sickness, walks out on him and starts a relationship with a deeply closeted man named Joe Pitt, who is a republican and a mormon. His wife Harper is extremely delusional and troubled, given she came from an abusive home and is suffering from the lack of meaning or even recognition in their relationship, given it is all based on a lie. Meanwhile, Prior is being visited by an angel telling him he is a prophet which pushes him close to over the edge. Throw in Joe's boss the famous lawyer Roy Cohn, Joe's strict but kind mother Hannah, Prior's best friend and Roy's nurse Belize, and the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg haunting Roy for exploiting the trial proceedings , and you've got one amazing play!!
Angels In America is so epic and rich and layered. It's amazing how Tony Kushner can develop all these characters and not get any of them lost or bogged down. Every one of them is perfectly developed and every one of their situations is so interesting and dark and funny. It mixes politics, homosexuality, and what it means to be alive in such a seamless and flawless way. It's truly mind-blowing to read it. The first play, Millenium Approaches chronicles the self-destruction of all the characters which causes the Angel to come Prior's bedroom and tell him to preach against the terrible crushing mindset of humanity at this time,presenting the idea that by being so driven by greed, we were destroying the world and everything in it. You would think that these ideas would be dated given it is so topical to 1980s America , but it all holds up. The 2nd play, Perestroika , is about the healing and changing of all of these characters and how they surive the tests and burdens that life has given them, eventually coming to a heart-rendering conclusion.
The film version of it is spectacular as well. I'd say the characters are more likeable in the film version and it's a little less dark, but the impact of the piece is still very strong. The actors are amazing : You never see one bit of Al Pacino in his portrayal of Roy Cohn, Meryl Streep again shows her amazing versality by playing three roles with incredible brilliance and strength (A male Rabbi, Ethel Rosenberg, and Hannah Pitt), Mary Louise Parker is incredibly vulnerable and real as Harper, and Justin Kirk is a perfect and extremely stirring Pirior. Emma Thompson is also terrific playing the important role of the Angel and giving excellent work with two smaller parts (Prior's nurse Emily and a homeless woman). The rest of the cast is great too, but these are the standouts.
I just can't say or get enough out of this amazing piece of work! Have any of you read it or seen the film? If so, tell me your thoughts! If not, SEE IT IMMEDIATELY!