City of Angels

  • Directors: Brad Silberling
  • Producers: Charles Roven, Dawn Steel, Charles Newirth
  • Writers: Wim Wenders, Peter Handke, Richard Reitinger, Dana Stevens
  • Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Thriller
  • Actors: Nicolas Cage, Meg Ryan, Andre Braugher, Dennis Franz, Colm Feore, Kim Murphy, Deirdre O Connell

In Los Angeles, Seth (Nicolas Cage) is one of many Angels who watch over humans and protect them in unseen ways. The movie portrays angels in a somewhat traditional role without referencing a specific faith. Seth’s main responsibility is to appear to those who are close to death and guide them to the next life. As part of this task, Seth and one of his fellow angels, Cassiel (Andre Braugher), like to ask people what their favorite thing in life was. But despite their daily encounters with humans and their ways, they appear to have trouble understanding human beings and their ways.

While waiting to escort to the other world a man who will not survive heart surgery, Seth is impressed by the vigorous efforts of the surgeon, Maggie Rice (Meg Ryan) to save the ill-fated man’s life and her sincere anguish at her failure to do so. (The man is in fact standing with Seth watching Maggie try to save him.) Seth soon becomes preoccupied with Maggie and decides to become visible to her despite his obvious inability to give her many convincing details about himself, such as what he does for a living or even his last name. Despite this, they develop a friendship which soon turns to mutual attraction, although Maggie is already involved with one of her colleagues (Colm Feore) at the hospital.

The final scene recalls an earlier one with Nathaniel. It shows Seth at the beach where the angels meet every day at dawn and at sunset to listen to the celestial music and commune with eternity. With Cassiel and the rest of the angels watching, Seth expresses his joy in being human and the fact that he has come to terms with his new life by running into the water and playing in the waves. In a rare moment of emotion, Cassiel is seen laughing joyfully for his old friend.