Owen Gleiberman
February 21, 1997 at 05:00 AM EST

Angel Baby

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
performer
Jacqueline Mckenzie, John Lynch
director
Michael Rymer
We gave it a B-

The moment that Kate (Jacqueline McKenzie) and Harry (John Lynch) compare suicide scars on their wrists, you know that they’re meant for each other. The two meet at a psychiatric outpatient facility. She’s a schizophrenic waif, with chalk white skin, raccoon eyes, and a defiant belief that she’s receiving messages from Wheel of Fortune. He’s a recovering nervous-breakdown victim, haunted but not so visibly disturbed. Michael Rymer’s offbeat Australian love story sees the fragile comedy in a relationship where the lovers have to share space with an invisible third party — the muse of madness. McKenzie, the striking young actress from 1993’s Romper Stomper, evokes the egocentric magnetism and scary, feral disconnectedness of a delusional schizophrenic. As for Lynch, a little of his morose-puppy stare goes a long way. Around the midway point, Kate gets pregnant, stops taking her medication, and collapses into hysterical paranoia, a development that might have proved more compelling had Angel Baby not descended into ”harrowing” our-crazy-love-versus-the-world cliches.

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