US, 2013, 87 minutes, Colour.
Harry Connick Jr, Connie Britton, Chandler Canterbury, Kris Kristofferson, Fionulla Flanagan, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett.
Directed by Tim Mc Canlies.
Angels Sing is a Christmas film for the family. Interestingly, it stars prominent singers including Harry Connick Jr in the lead, Kris Kristofferson as the grandfather, Lyle Lovett as the neighbour, Willie Nelson as the genial angel-type, Dale Watson as the singer in the diner (No Mistletoe in Prison!).
This is a film about fathers and sons.Harry Connick Jr portrays a university lecturer who has to sell his house and, in what might seem miraculous encounter, he is able to buy mansion at half its price, let go by its owner, played by a genial Willie Nelson. However, owing to an accident in the past when his older brother was killed trying to save him while skating, Michael has an aversion to Christmas and does not want to join the family. He seems alienated from his father who has tried to tell him that he was not to blame for the accident. Grandfather is played by Kris Kristofferson. There is a family gathering at Thanksgiving, and a series of events of events at Christmas, including Michael’s unwillingness to decorate the new house which he finds is in the street famous internationally for its lights and decorations. He grieves when his father is killed in an accident and his son goes to hospital. It is the Willie Nelson character who makes the difference – and leads to the lights being put up, and a happy ending.
1. An American story, Texas story? Designed for American Christmas audiences? The perspective on Christmas? Street decorations and a happy spirit? Memories of the gospel story? Songs and carols? For non-American audiences?
2. The Texas setting, the city of Austin? Ordinary homes, mansions, the streets and decorations, country homes?
3. The musical score, the range of songs, Christmas carols, the singers?
4. The cast and the range of popular singers – and there each being given a song? Willie Nelson and Amazing Grace, ordinary songs? Lyle Lovett and the Christmas Song? Kris Kristofferson in the family song? Dale Watson and the songs in the diner? Harry Connick and the final song?
5. A story of family, fathers and sons, succeeding generations?
6. Michael, love for his wife, for David his son (and his giving his son the name of his deceased brother)? Having to sell the house? The search of other houses? Michael and his bike ride, hitting the deer, walking back, the encounter with Nick, the welcome to the house, the tour, Nick and his asking for Michael to make an offer, only able to pay half the value of the house, Nick signing the document, wanting it to be a family house – and not painted pink! Michael and his good fortune, going home, his wife’s shock at her not being consulted, their going to see the house, the friendship of Nick, overwhelmed by the house, moving in?
7. The family background, Michael telling David about his uncle, the skating, the Christmas gift, David saving Michael from falling into the ice? Michael blaming himself, despite his father’s urging him not to? His despising Christmas, disliking the decorations, shocked to find that he was in the street which was internationally famous for lights, all the neighbours bringing the decorations, his putting them in the attic, except the big snowman - into the rubbish bin? The reaction to his actions, the interview, on television, being called a grinch?
8. The Thanksgiving visit, the assembled family, grandfather and grandmother, the welcome to everyone, the enjoyment, card games, some meals…, Michael walking out, talking with his mother? Michael not wanting to go for Christmas? David wanting to go? The grandparents asking David to go for a couple of days?
9. Michael, his teaching at the University, his reading, Christmas and his wandering around, the crowds, the television, his going to the church, listening to Nick singing, going to the diner, enjoying the meal? Finally opening his father’s gift of Christmas, the home movies and tapes, watching them, his heart moved?
10. David wanting to stay until dark to see the decorations, the accident, his concussion, his grandfather’s death? Grandmother moving into the house?
11. The experience with Nick, his decision to put up the decorations, inviting his neighbour over, the neighbour happily singing and agreeing to help? The house decorated, Nick’s arrival – and his leaving with angels wings on the back of his jacket?
12. Enjoyable sentiment for a family film?