Lizzie (Noomi Rapace) lost her baby daughter in a fire seven years ago, and hasn’t been the same since. Now divorced from her husband (Luke Evans) and struggling to adequately mother her young son (Finn Little), Lizzie begins spiraling back into grief after seeing a young girl, Lola (Annika Whiteley), whom she is convinced is her long-lost daughter. Lizzie befriends the girl’s parents (Yvonne Strahovski and Richard Roxburgh) and her obsession with Lola, and her madness, grows, while she battles for custody of her son.
Angel of Mine is directed by Kim Farrant (Strangerland), written by Oscar-nominated Lion screenwriter Luke Davies, and shot in Melbourne.
Angel of Mine is an emotive and raw portrayal of grief. Nuanced and well-written, the film captivatingly portrays the moments Lizzie’s grief and panic overwhelms her. The film reconciles Lizzie’s ability to save face in the public eye and sequester her grief away for private yet powerful moments, presenting a constructive view of how people deal with trauma and remain stoic. Rapace’s portrayal of the long-grieving mother is powerful to say the least, her pain remaining ever-present and churning beneath the surface, ready to be triggered by the slightest thing.
Angel of Mine toys with reality, and its close-ups become somewhat claustrophobic. The film picks up sped quickly and grows increasingly insidious, suspenseful and deeply uncomfortable as Lizzie’s obsession grows. She becomes more daring, more unraveled, and more sure the girl she stalks is her own daughter. The tension between Lizzie and her son superbly characterizes the boy’s struggle to deal with his unstable mother. His anger and retaliation against his mother’s obsession turns into the bitterness of a boy trapped by his mother’s grief and depression.
Lola’s family is refreshingly sensible about the increasing threat, and there is no insight into Lizzie’s true madness until it is too late. However, the ending feels very hollow and somehow emotionally stunted, cheapening what might have been a very apt depiction of grief. It is a sensible, logical resolution in some ways, but ties things off too neatly, and leaves a bitter taste when the credits roll.
I rate this film 7/10.
Angel of Mine is showing exclusively at Luna Leederville from 5th September.