The Angels’ Share (2012)

The Angels’ Share
Director: Ken Loach
Writer: Paul Laverty
Cast: Paul Brannigan, John Henshaw, Gary Maitland, Jasmin Riggins, William Ruane, Roger Allam, Siobhan Reilly

Robbie (Paul Brannigan) just barely got away with community service after his second conviction. Now he’s trying to get on his feet, supported by his pregnant girlfriend Leonie (Siobhan Reilly) and his parol officer Harry (John Henshaw). But it isn’t easy to find a job in this economy, especially not when you’ve been to prison, have a scar in your face and no real education. And Leonie’s family is giving Robbie a hard time, too. But then Harry takes Robbie to a Whiskey distillery and Robbie discovers his love for it. And when he finds out about a special Whiskey that is to be sold at a high price at an auction, he figures out a way to make some cash quickly – just enough for a fresh start.

Angels’ Share is a movie that suffers from its own marketing. They try to sell it as a comedy – and it is funny, but only sometimes. Instead it’s more about social criticism. That makes it more interesting, but also a little harder to watch – especially if you expect a laugh-fest.


I can understand why the marketing of this film went wrong. It’s a hard film to classify. The first half is pretty much all social study, the problems of the working class and how hard it is to start fresh when you didn’t do so well in the past. And while that part is not without its jokes, it’s certainly not a comedy.

It’s only the second half that becomes more comedic and light-hearted, though I wouldn’t say that it’s a full-blown, laugh-out-loud comedy, either. It’s much to Ken Loach’s credit that those two parts go together very well and the whole thing evolves quite naturally, but it certainly makes the marketing difficult, which gives people the wrong expectations and probably gets not the target audience into the cinemas.

The Angels' Share

Anyhow, let’s talk about the movie itself. I really liked Paul Laverty’s script. It was incredibly charming. As was the cast: not only was the acting good, the actors were really well chosen.

But the movie did have its lengths, too. And sometimes the humor does get a little silly. Nevertheless it ends up being nice and touching.


Summarising: A good watch, if you don’t expect to be laughing all the time.

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