Angel-A Review
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André (Jamel Debbouze) is down on his luck. The 28-year-old olive oil businessman has gotten himself into a bit of trouble in Paris. After a few unlucky bets, André finds himself in serious debt, owing lots of money to guys who aren’t all that patient and forgiving. He’s in so deep, in fact, that he tries to get himself put in jail for a while—so he can have some time to sort through his problems while protecting himself from money-hungry thugs. But even that doesn’t work. André has come to the end of his rope—so he decides to jump from one of Paris’s many bridges and end it all. Just as he’s about to jump, though, he looks over and sees a tall, beautiful blonde woman, standing on the bridge, not far from him.

When the beautiful woman on the bridge jumps, André jumps in after her and saves her. Suddenly, he decides that if he can do one good thing—like saving this woman’s life—everything will be okay. So he suggests that she find herself a good cause to live for. The woman, who introduces herself as Angela (Rie Rasmussen), decides that André looks like as good a cause as any—and she informs him that she’s going to help him.

Angela then proceeds to do exactly as she says she will. She helps him get money—and she helps him get out of debt. André is amazed by Angela’s enthusiasm when it comes to helping him, but he doesn’t understand it—until she explains that she’s an angel, sent on a mission to help him get his life back on track.

Angel-A is a beautifully simple French film by writer/director Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, Arthur and the Invisibles). Filmed entirely in black and white, with stunning shots of Paris, it’s a marvelously artistic movie. But, unlike most marvelously artistic movies, it offers some added bonuses—like an interesting story and two lovable characters. Though the story isn’t necessarily unique, it’s plain and simple and uncomplicated—and it moves along quickly, with the perfect mix of humor, action, and drama.

Debbouze’s André and his awkward and misguided antics give the film plenty of comic relief. And when you put him (an insecure and somewhat grungy little man) and Angela (a tall, gorgeous blonde in the “sexy bitch” costume that she chose especially for her assignment) together, they make a humorously incongruous pair. But there’s also a touching love story—and while André finds himself falling in love with Angela, he also learns to love himself.

Don’t let the subtitles scare you away—Angel-A is a must-see.

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