Angels don't thrill me. If happy endings are reliant on feathered divinity, I may as well end it all now
Friday 03 October 1997
Angels aren't new to Hollywood, of course, Stairway To Heaven, It's a Wonderful Life and Wings of Desire had them too. But why and why now? Because Tinseltown has done its homework exploiting the zeitgeist.
A recent survey showed that many Americans believe angels actually exist. We're not talking concepts here. We're talking about things with wings.
Is this angelic takeover part of America's dumbing down? Are angels the rosy fingers of a coming spiritual dawn? Moviegoers don't give two hoots as long as there's a happy ending.
These days, we're so disillusioned with reason and rationality that a happy ending doesn't seem feasible without divine intervention. Enter angels - the clean face of the occult, a Christian idea of the cavalry.
Traditionally, Hollywood's magical beings (let's include TV's Bewitched and Jeannie as in I Dream Of....) aren't heavenly versions of Charles Bronson.
They're contradictory creatures who have barely enough ooomph to help themselves and yet, ha ha, were sent to help us mortals. For that ruse to work, we must believe that God knows best for all his creatures.
Take that one step further, and you've got Hollywood's solution to the old philosophical chestnut: if God is all-good and all-powerful, why does evil exist? Why? Because. Now shut up and eat your popcorn.
Angels don't thrill me. If happy endings are reliant on feathered divinity, I may as well end it all now. If I must have an angel, however, give me one like O'Reilly in A Life Less Ordinary.
As a "celestial cop" who can only return to heaven after uniting the film's hero and heroine in love, Holly Hunter says she plays O'Reilly like a cross between Nancy Sinatra and a Charlie's Angel: all long hair, short skirts, high boots and southern drawl. Like modern women everywhere, she's weary of her job, too confident to be "feminine", too old to be `sexy'. She's a woman literally dying to go home.
In one of the film's more telling scenes O'Reilly gets run over by a pick-up truck. When she pops up again, tights laddered, bloody, but still vitally alive, we laugh. We have to. She is just like us. All she wants is to end up in heaven. Like us, she has to go through Hell to get there.
No wonder Hollywood wants to reinforce the belief that angels are all around us, helping us out, cheering us up. Without them, life would seem a bit too, shall we say, unfair?
Life & Style blogs
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
- 1 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 2 Louis van Gaal gets tough with Manchester United players, with Darren Fletcher and Luke Shaw berated in public and Phil Jones left looking bemused
- 3 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 4 Peaches Geldof inquest: Tragic final moments of socialite's life reveal she lied to husband about failed heroin tests
- 5 Israel has discovered that it's no longer so easy to get away with murder in the age of social media
£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Functional ...