Honoré loves cinema. New French Wave cinema to be specific. In his latest, Plaire, aimer et courir vite, or other known in English as the shortly titled Sorry Angel, there’s a plethora of references and homages to this particular joyous era of film making. There’s a distinct scene in Sorry Angel, where Vincent Lacoste’s character visits a graveyard, where he rests his hand on François Truffaut grave, where Honoré passion for cinema truly shines. From the film’s distinct color palette, to it’s portrait-like vista’s, the film is clearly inspired by the liking’s of Goddard, and some may say Varda.
Within it’s packed references and homages, what’s left of Sorry Angel is an adequate bi-product of last years Grand Jury Prize Cannes Winning Feature – 120 Beats Per Minute. Unlike BPM, Sorry Angel deals with the aids epidemic of the 1990’s in a more light hearted and free-spirited light, telling its story from the perspective of a group of gay friends, living in France, and their own personal ordeals throughout their eventful and at times tragic lives. While it may be safe to say that there is a few emotionally dense scenes of heart break in Sorry Angel, what took me of guard was it’s romantic comedy approach. While it may play itself safe, there’s moments of unease where it’s hard to tell if the film should be taken seriously as a historical reenactment of this terrible epidemic, or as a overly fantasized retelling of a romance which is taken place during the aids crisis.
This the main problem with Sorry Angel. It’s aimless film that doesn’t have a focus when telling it’s tales. It’s derivative, and even at times convoluted entertainment that lacks in identity and determination, switching back and forth between various different relationships, that just end of being exhausting and mind-numbing for the viewer to experience. The film is the cinematic equivalent of a queer feature in a GQ article, where the aesthetic and references are apparent and well conceived, but the overall execution of the images and text lack versatility.
Although it may lack in having a focus, what Honoré gets right about these characters is their inner struggles and motives. Sorry Angel has one of the most brutally honest portrayals of an LBTQ relationship ever put to film, using playful banter and risque gender roles to add onto the fleshed out realism of its characters. Shame that brilliant performances and dialogue were misused in favor of aimless entertainment.
Sorry Angel ends on a melancholic note, using the song One by Harry Nilsson, with it’s verse “one is the loneliest number” as ironic thematic weight to the finale. While it may not be rewarding in terms of its overall focus in it’s narrative department, Honoré has proved that even if you have a half-baked plot, characters can resonate and at times empower its audience in ways that they’ve never experienced before. Sorry Angel may not succeed in every regard, but it’s talent behind and in-front of the camera is something to appreciate for years to come.
MK2 Films will release Sorry Angel in 2019, Dates TBA