ANGEL OF MINE – Review by Loren King

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Despite strong performances from Noomi Rapace and Yvonne Strahovski, Angel of Mine is a pretty bonkers Fatal Attraction meets The Hand that Rocks the Cradle but with a Lifetime movie cheesiness.

I might have liked it more if this conventionally shot Australian movie went full off-the-rails melodrama but it doesn’t, even with last act fireworks. Until then, it is plodding and predictable which doesn’t suit a plot about a young mother Lizzie (Rapace) who, driven to near-madness by grief over the death of her baby daughter, convinces herself that her little girl is alive and well — except that seven year-old Lola (Annika Whiteley) belongs to another mother (Strahovski).

So, the deranged behavior begins, as Lizzie begins stalking the child and ingratiating herself into Claire’s perfect, well to do family. A close call on an ice skating rink puts Claire on alert; when Lizzie mysteriously shows up backstage at Lola’s ballet recital, coaching the child from the wings, the red flags are flying with a fury.

By the time Lizzie whisks Lola away from a party for a secluded ride in a rowboat (shades of Glenn Close on that roller coaster), the movie has recycled every worn out crazy mommy/this-child-is-mine trope. But Lizzie’s obsessive, increasingly dangerous behavior is based on nothing more than a hunch: she thinks Lola looks like her. When the finale reveals its twist, it gives validation to her stalking.

All the resolutions are tidy and pat with even Lola far too accepting of the outcome. Compared with, say, last year’s Nancy in which a troubled young woman tries to convince a grieving mother that she is the woman’s long missing daughter, Angel of Mine lacks the dark undercurrent that would make it painfully disturbing, or a high camp sensibility to make it a guilty pleasure.

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Loren King

Loren King's features and film reviews appear regularly in the Boston Globe, Boston Spirit magazine and the Provincetown Banner. She writes Scene Here, a localfilm column, in the Boston Sunday Globe. A member of the Boston Society of Film Critics since 2002, she served as its president for five years.