The German film “Wings of Desire”, Wim Wenders’ dreamlike meditation on the angels among us, has been Hollywoodized into a dreamlike but glossy romance between an angel named Seth (Nicolas Cage) and a surgeon named Maggie (Meg Ryan). According to this film, angels appear to hold our hands as we die. Humans cannot see them, but Maggie, fighting desperately to save a patient, feels Seth’s presence, and it shakes her. It shakes him, too. He begins to wish that he could trade his existance as an angel for the chance to partake in earthly pleasures like smell, and touch, and love. He meets one of Maggie’s patients, a former angel (played by NYPD Blue star Dennis Franz) and learns that even angels have the free will to choose their destinies.
Cage is especially touching, his longing for Maggie coming from some deep place in his soul. And the movie has some good issues to raise about choices and destiny and intimacy and the importance of smelling the roses. But it has awkward construction and a maudlin conclusion. Parents should know that there are some sad deaths (including a child). They may also want to talk about why Maggie’s relationship with her colleague is so unsatisfying for her, and why Seth’s role is so unsatisfying for him.