Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Romance City of Angels (1998)

City of Angels (1998)

How could I possibly review romances without including City of
Angels to the list!  I couldn’t!  So here it is!  This is truly a deeply moving, heart warming movie with an A-list ensemble cast as well as Grammy and Golden Globe nominations for the theme song.  The movie is directed by Brad Silberling of LA Law and NYPD Blue fame.


Maggie Rice (Meg Ryan) is an overworked doctor who suffers from insomnia.  It is when she looses a patient on the operating table that Seth (Nicolas Cage) first sees her.  Seth is an angel and he’s come to take the body ‘home’.  It’s while she’s sitting in the stairwell crying, after the loss of her patient, that Seth connects with her.  At that moment though, he can see her but she can’t see him!  They then meet again in the hospital corridors and this time she sees him.  They meet once again in the public library where many of the angels, like Seth, gather.  Seth is deeply in love with Maggie even though he can’t touch her because as an angel he can’t taste, touch, smell or feel pain.  And whilst Maggie is engaged to a fellow doctor, she is intrigued by Seth.  An impossible and unlikely union!


It is with Seth’s angel friend, Cassiel (Andre Braugher), whilst perching on bridges and street lights that they talk about being able to do human things.  It’s the love Seth has for Maggie that makes him want to ‘fall’ and become mortal.  We get to meet a ‘fallen angel’ in the form of Nathaniel Messenger (Dennis Franz) who happens to be Maggie’s patient.  Nathaniel gives Seth a lesson about life, being a human and the sacrifices that go with it. 


Maggie knows that Seth is different and sees this when he slides a knife through his hand without cutting himself or drawing blood.  Even though this frightens her, she is still drawn to him.  The more Seth sees Maggie, the more he wants to jump and fall from immortality.  He eventually takes the leap and we see an injured Seth frantically trying to locate Maggie.  Pertinent to the story is when Seth approaches Maggie’s friend and says to her “I fell”, she replies, “Evidently.  Off a train?” to which he replies, “I fell in love. Ann, please help me find her”.


Seth locates Maggie at her lodge in Tahoe where she has gone for a retreat.  He arrives at her door asking, “Am I too late?”, “too late?” “Jordan?” he asks, “I couldn’t marry
Jordan. I’m in love with you”.  It is at the lodge that they seal their love with passionate, exploring touching, kissing and love-making. 


When Seth was still an angel he asked Maggie to describe the taste of a pear to him, she remembers this the following morning whilst making fruit salad.  While he’s in the shower, she rushes off on her bicycle to buy some pears at the local store.  It is on the way back to the lodge that Maggie meets her fate…


After the movie I questioned, “Did he do it all for nothing?  Fall from immortality for a woman who left him?”  The answer lay in Seth’s unforgettable words, “I would rather have had one breath of her hair, one kiss from her mouth, one touch of her hand, than an eternity with out it. One!”

1 thought on “City of Angels (1998)”

  1. I haven’t seen City of Angels in forever but I remember loving it.
    Because of your review I will re-watch it asap.
    I loved it so much I ran out and bought it after I saw it.
    It was a very original love story.
    I like that it wasn’t predicable and didn’t end how one would expect at all.

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