The Dreamlife of Angels

Critics Consensus

Showcasing excellent lead performances, The Dreamlife of Angels is an intelligent, absorbing character study of two women.



Total Count: 42


Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,445
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Movie Info

Elodie Bouchez and Natacha Regnier both won "Best Actress" honors at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival in this naturalistic drama about two women alienated from mainstream society. After a trio of short films, this is the feature directorial debut of 41-year-old French filmmaker Erick Zonca. With opening scenes reminiscent of Agnes Varda's Vagabond (1985), optimistic hobo Isa (Bouchez), with her life in her backpack, has a gritty existence on the road, going from one town to another through northern France, working factory jobs and selling cards. After she loses a garment-factory job, her withdrawn, near-catatonic co-worker Marie (Regnier) lets Isa share space in her Lille living quarters -- an apartment actually belonging to a hospitalized mother and daughter. Marie begins an affair with burly bouncer Charly (Patrick Mercado) before achieving an emotional breakthrough with sleazy, animalistic club-owner Chriss (Gregoire Colin). Meanwhile, Isa becomes fascinated with the girl who lived in the apartment but now lies in a coma at the hospital. The film combines handheld camerawork with a minimalist music score (Yann Thiersen) and documentary-like street sounds.


Critic Reviews for The Dreamlife of Angels

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (12)

Audience Reviews for The Dreamlife of Angels

  • Jun 26, 2013
    A charming set of gals from two much different backgrounds become friends and collide their lives with a number of trying life situations. Very watchable.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 14, 2011
    Dreamlife of Angel's is one of several "reasons" why I enjoy foreign films. It is not dependent on "star" power, computer generated images, overt violence, or scenes with fantastic stunts. What it has are characters which are richly developed, believable, showing emotions which are palpable and for whom we can care. What we find out here is simple is sometimes best This movie is the perfect example to see how an accomplished and talented actor makes a movie come to life and seem absolutely real, for that is what both Elodie Bouchez and Natasha Regnier achieve in this film. Which performance is better? I think that is a draw. Bouchez and Régnier shared the Best Actress award at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival for their work in this movie. Indeed it is hard to choose between them. Both are wonderful brilliant and more importantly real. I cannot imagine ANY Hollywood actress playing these roles. Now I don't like to be too nice about the French but this film confirms my long-held suspicion that their films are the best. They may not make as much money as US films but at least they offer something of substance. Clearly, this is not a feel-good movie. And no, it's not about beautiful people living in beautiful houses with beautiful clothes. It's about the real life of two normal people and, although that might not appear to be a recipe for a particularly fascinating film, I was enthralled. This film provides just that: a window into an aspect of humanity that leaves us feeling vulnerable. Rarely do we see a story that not only entertains and recounts events so naturally, but also reveals truths about ourselves that we're usually too cowardly to face. The delivery of the facts is so natural that we feel almost ashamed to be looking into the lives of the two main characters. Yet we remain glad we did it
    Arianeta L Super Reviewer
  • Aug 29, 2008
    Excellent performances from the two lead actresses. Incredibly intense and real story, with a particularly emotional ending.
    Emily B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 04, 2008
    A beautiful and realistic protrayal of lost human beings looking for their own place in the world; perfectly performed and paced, even when not completely memorable.
    Quinto W Super Reviewer

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