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814 Ratings

An Angel at My Table

Directed by Jane Campion
New Zealand, 1990
Biography, Drama


An Angel at My Table tells the harrowing story of Janet Frame, New Zealand’s most distinguished author. The film follows Frame along her inspiring journey, from a poverty-stricken childhood to a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia and electroshock therapy to, finally, international literary fame.

Our take

In her breakthrough feature, New Zealand’s Jane Campion brings to the screen a Künstlerroman in tribute to her much-overlooked compatriot, writer Janet Frame: a woman who’s unexpected win of a literary prize in 1951 saved her from a lobotomy. A film tripartite in structure, and immaculately told.

An Angel at My Table Directed by Jane Campion

Awards & Festivals

Venice Film Festival

1990 | 7 wins including: Elvira Notari Prize

Independent Spirit Awards

1992 | Winner: Best Foreign Film

Toronto International Film Festival

1990 | Winner: International Critics' Award

I feel that when I watch this movie I am participating in storytelling, in the building of the film. It emanates this feeling of somebody being there and just saying, “I want to tell you a story,” and the way you’re guided through draws you in—through the colors, the actors—in a way that is so enjoyable it’s almost as if you’re in water and just let yourself be carried by the flow.
December 03, 2018
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Campion reveals Frame’s prose as much through the film’s cinematography as she does by allowing Frame’s words to be narrated. When observing these girls on the stairs, it transcends ethnography or scorn, it achieves adoration and pathos. Janet, excluded from their grouping, finds incredible poetry in her role as the outsider. Neither rage nor regret overtakes her, and she sees the world fresh and beautiful.
June 23, 2016
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This is not only a great film by a great director – of course, there could never be any doubt about that – but for the first time I felt here was a film that could only have been made by a woman, this woman. And not only as a filmmaker but woman as a whole, brave, brave as a human can be. This is not a film about a brave woman’s tormented heroic destiny… No, it has something deeper, more urgent to declare about films and women. This film changed my life as a woman, not simply as a filmmaker.
September 07, 2015

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