Angels and Insects (1995)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

This unusual adult drama puts the class structures of Victorian England under a microscope with an almost literary use of metaphors and incidental details. Entomologist William Adamson (Mark Rylance) loses everything, including his precious insect collection, in a shipwreck, and is taken in by the wealthy Reverend Alabaster (Jeremy Kemp), himself a would-be researcher in the insect world. William soon begins his research anew, aided by Alabaster relative Matty Crompton (Kristin Scott Thomas), … More

Rating: R (nudity, sex, violence)
Genre: Drama, Romance
Directed By:
Written By: Belinda Haas, Philip Haas
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 19, 2002
MGM Home Entertainment



as William Adamson

as Matty Crompton

as Eugenia Alabaster

as Sir Harald Alabaster

as Lady Alabaster

as Miss Mead

as Rowena Alabaster

as Lady Alabaster's Mai...

as Margaret Alabaster

as Child Servant

as Elaine Alabaster

as Pallbearer

as Edith Alabaster

as Alice Alabaster

as Guy Alabaster

as Ralph Blackwood

as Newborn Twin

as Newborn Twin

as Wet Nurse

as Six-month-old Twin

as Six-month-old Twin

as Robert Edgar (age 1)

as Midwife

as Stable Lad
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Angels and Insects

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (14)

No matter what you think this adaptation of A.S. Byatt's novella Morpho Eugenia sounds like, it's better and certainly kinkier than your best parlor-game guess.

January 1, 2000
USA Today
Top Critic

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Detroit News
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 1, 1995
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Angels and Insects

Not a movie I would recommend, but if you have nothing to do on a saturday evening and it's on TV.. Why not?
(The dresses are hideous).

Saskia D.

Super Reviewer

Beautiful scenery of the English countryside, a captivating young woman with a dark secret, an innocent young man captivated by the trappings of wealth and "proper" society all come together in this terrific film. The plot is amply described here and elsewhere, so I won't bore you with the details. Patsy Kensit is radiant as the beautiful, cosseted elder sister Eugenia, who harbors a secret addiction that nearly destroys the man who at one time worshiped her great beauty and thought himself unworthy of her affections. Kristen Scott Thomas quietly simmered as the intelligent, artistically talented children's tutor, Matty, who is mainly unnoticed within the household, but whose finely honed powers of observation serve her well. Mark Rylance turned in a carefully nuanced performance as the young biologist, William Adamson, who finds himself the beneficiary of the Alabaster family's largess and blissfully marries Eugenia, only to discover the deception that has been played out under his nose. And Douglas Henshall is perfect as a loutish brute, Eugenia's brother, Edgar. Edgar fancies himself as the pinnacle of human breeding and is quite concerned with maintaining the purity of the bloodlines of his horses and of his family. He is also a man ruled by his passions who satisfies his desires whenever and wherever it pleases him and has nothing but contempt for his ill-bred brother-in-law. The characters are fully fleshed by the script, the passion on screen is palpable, and the conflicts within the household simmer and bubble just below the surface. In that way, it is much like an ant colony, the study of which forms the focal point of the story and becomes the way out for young William and for Matty as well. Matty at one point refers to the members of the household who are invisible to the main inhabitants but nonetheless wield enormous power because of their anonymity. The house decides what is revealed and what is to remain hidden.

Mark Abell
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer

Ha ha! Those who are looking for a pure period piece are in for a big shock when the sexy parts come into play. I asked a woman out to see this and she looked at me in a weird way. I must have come across as being a perv to her. Anyways, I did see the film later and thought it was brilliant. Not a good first date film but brilliant.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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