• Unrated, 1 hr. 46 min.
  • Drama, Comedy
  • Directed By:
    Ken Loach
    In Theaters:
    Apr 12, 2013 Limited
    On DVD:
    Dec 9, 2013
  • IFC Films


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The Angels' Share Reviews

Page 1 of 18
Cynthia S

Super Reviewer

January 6, 2014
Maybe it is just me, but I was completely bored. I only made it about 40 min in, and I had to turn it off.

Super Reviewer

May 22, 2013
When he becomes a father, Robbie tries to put his violent life as a street thug behind him; his unexpectedly refined palette for malt whiskey may provide him a means to escape poverty. Powerful drama assaults you up front, offset by working class comedy that lingers throughout. Finishes with a wisp of heist movie for a finely balanced mix sure to lift your spirits.
Bill D 2007
Bill D 2007

Super Reviewer

April 28, 2013
Charming dramedy about a group of working-class young people in Scotland, but nothing to get too excited about.
Mark W

Super Reviewer

October 27, 2012
This is the 12th collaboration between director Ken Loach and writer Paul Laverty. Their previous efforts have been mostly very successful films and have largely dealt with the hardships of Scottish working class lifestyles. This is another slice of that life and yet another little treasure.
Young Glaswegian Robbie (Paul Brannigan) is sentenced to community service for repeatedly offending. He has a baby on the way and finds himself in a continual circle of violence with his girlfriend's father but he's desperate for a way out of his life of crime. He is taken under the wing of social worker Harry (John Henshaw) who teaches him the appreciation of fine malt Whiskies. It's only then, Robbie discovers a distillery that's home to a rare Scotch Whisky worth thousands of pounds and involves his friends to take some for themselves.
There is a Scots Gaelic way of referring to the alcoholic beverage Whisky and that is "Uisge Beatha", literally translating as 'Water of Life'. This name, in itself, could be a perfect title for this film (and it's themes) but Loach has gone and conjured up another one: When Whisky is matured over the years there's some that escapes from the casket and evaporates into thin air, never to be tasted or seen again. This is referred to as "The Angels' Share" and, on reflection, is a fitting title for the story.
Loach is one of those directors that has a perfect sense of realism. It just courses right through his films; from the storyline, through the setting to the authentic dialogue and untrained actors. This is no different and it shares a similar theme to two of his and Paul Laverty's earlier collaborations: "My Name Is Joe" and "Sweet Sixteen", in terms of a struggling protagonist trying to break free from his brutal environment and make a life for himself. What this has, that those two didn't, is a sense of humour and a delicate, lightness of touch. It doesn't get bogged down in the kitchen-sink mentality that you'd expect but breaks free from that mould to become a lighthearted caper movie. Don't get me wrong, Loach still has the power of gritty authenticity and on a few occasions he displays that but like the beverage they are concerned about in the film, it has a nice balance; it manages to be both rough and smooth. Glasgow is depicted as a brutal environment with damaged disillusioned youths and Loach's eye for locations and mostly untrained actors is ever present. All the performers deliver admirable and, in some cases, excellent work. A talent that Loach has shown over the years is his ability in finding these quality young actors. In a lot of ways he's become somewhat of a pioneer for Scottish cinema - the city of Glasgow in particular. No film set in Scotland's largest city would be complete without the humour though and in this case Loach and Laverty capture the idiom perfectly, delivering regular and balanced humour.
A slight change of pace from Ken Loach and more upbeat than fans of his will be accustomed to but he manages the understatement very well and delivers one of his most feel-good films to date.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

October 3, 2012
The Angels' Share starts off as gritty drama and ends in feelgood light comedy. I like the idea and I like the meaning of the Angels' Share but for a Ken Loach film I did expect more. It's fairly unbalanced, a little contradictory and a little too whimsical given the films opening brutal scenes. I still enjoyed it, I just felt Ken Loach compromised somehow rather than stood out like his more recent work.
Carlos M

Super Reviewer

June 29, 2012
Ken Loach and Paul Leverty balance drama and humor quite well in this playful but realistic story that has a good heart and never loses its grip. It is really like savouring a fine Scotch whisky - a real pleasure to the senses that makes you always want some more.

Super Reviewer

June 16, 2012
'The Angels' Share'. You've seen the plot before, you'll still love it. The audience reaction to *that* scene was priceless!

Super Reviewer

April 27, 2013
When Robbie(Paul Brannigan) is brought before the judge on the charge of assault, he weighs that while it was self-defense, it was brutally so. Even with Robbie's previous record, he decides to sentence him to community payback, much to the consternation of some of those in the peanuts' gallery. And when Robbie is late on his first day, he is given a warning by his supervisor, Harry(John Henshaw), but makes good on it. Harry even gives him a ride to the hospital for the birth of his child but the family of Leonie(Siobhan Reilly), the expectant mother and Robbie's girlfriend, make sure to keep him away, even if they cannot keep the couple apart forever.

The one thing clear with any movie written by Paul Laverty and directed by Ken Loach is how much they love their characters, even if it is a kind of tough love, and that is especially true with the endearing "The Angels' Share." On a political note, they argue for a second chance for these petty offenders, and in the case of Robbie, it is more like a first chance, considering how poor his prospects were up until now.(There is a telling flashback that shows just how far he has come.) And just as the movie also tackles the important subjects of cultural appropriation and ignorance, it also has more than its share of odd tonal shifts, with one character being mainly kept around only for comic relief.
John B

Super Reviewer

May 16, 2013
One of the better Ken Loach films. We feel for the group of ex-cons as their success rides on a new found knowledge of the whiskey industry and a crime pulled off with great humour and humanity. Very good.

Super Reviewer

December 2, 2012
The latest movie of the director Ken Loach is a social realism pleasure to enjoy! Not many directors can transfer to a movie theatre such reverent depictions of the everyday life like he did in most of his creations. I am delighted that he keeps avoiding Hollywood and produces masterpieces seen and enjoyed by many film lovers. The Angels' Share is a Scottish comedy drama telling us a story of a young father from Glasgow, who narrowly avoids a prison sentence. Having trouble with the law previously and spending some time in prison he is determined to turn over a new leaf and when he and his friends from the same community payback group visit a whisky distillery, there is a big opportunity for a life change.

Superb casting of Paul Brannigan, John Henshaw, William Ruane, Gary Maitland, Jasmin Riggins, and Siobhan Reilly adds up depth and realism, as well as believability to the story. They were like the real deal! From the opening scenes everything seems like life itself... and when the protagonists are sentenced to hours of community service, you could feel the heaviness of the air in the courtroom! Events role - and there is never a dull moment from Robbie's (Paul Brannigan) first community service session under the guidance of Harry (John Henshaw), which is interrupted that he could be taken to the hospital by Harry as his girlfriend, Leonie (Siobhan Reilly), has gone into labour - to the end.

The film competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and Loach won the Jury Prize. In 31 years this was Loach's 11th film compete at the French festival with a great result. Don't miss this one!
Nicolas K

Super Reviewer

December 31, 2012
Loach's films are always filled with realism but more than often are very gloom. This one on the other hand is rather fresh, with good doses of humour, as a bunch misfits touched by the kindness of a community service officer have decided to try and change their lives around, but not before one last scam... The result is delightful.
Daniel P

Super Reviewer

June 18, 2012
A strong first hour before the whole thing gets a little too whimsical for my taste, but overall this is a funny, sweet, and occasionally moving film.
Marcus W

Super Reviewer

December 24, 2012
A light Ken Loach film about redemption, and whiskey.
August 8, 2014
A fairy tale for fans of naturalist filmmaking. Funny and touching in equal parts. A character study that doesn't shy away from dramatic moments but that shines because it embraces the lighthearted side of life. Oh, and its plot involves a bunch of petty criminals who decide to steal a rare cask of whiskey.... what's not to like about that?
August 21, 2013
A flawless melding of realism and genre entertainment. Loach never loses the sincerity of his characters whilst moving into slightly more uplifting territory.

Sure to be considered an instant classic.
June 2, 2012
heartwarming and surprising; deals with social realism without losing hope for humanity. recommended.
Angelo Dean
July 11, 2014
3 Stars!
Simple, Funny and Authentic!
June 29, 2014
Quirky and heartwarming and maybe a bit less gritty than a "typical" Ken Loach film. Superbly filmed though. Would go well with some of your favourite single malt. And see what the nse and palette detect from this offering.
May 14, 2014
Very light, very enjoyable as a whole. Maybe there's some too serious opening and story at the beginning, if you think again about the whole movie. Especially with this kind of ending. This is meant to be taken lightly to be enjoyable. Still I like the Angels' Share concept. Nice touch.
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