Angels in America

HBO has been hyping their $60 million epic film, Angels in America, for weeks and weeks, and it seems that the hype of seeing Tony Kushner's Pulitzer and Tony–winning play on screen, directed by Mike Nichols, with performances by Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, Emma Thompson, Mary Louise Parker, and Jeffrey Wright is justified. Gothamist read Angels in America ten years ago, so we've been eagerly awaiting the adaptation (buy Angels in America: The Millennium Approaches on Amazon). And critics everywhere are swooning.

Washington Post's Tom Shales: "...thought-provoking, mind-blowing and, at times, breathtaking."
The Observer's John Heilpern: "...a bold and magnificent achievement that deserves to be seen by everyone."
The Daily News' David Bianculli: "HBO Films...has delivered a masterpiece."
John Leonard: "...not only the best television of the year but, hands down, the best movie, period."
Time's James Ponziewok: "The accomplishment of this dazzling, poetic and hopeful Angels in America is that it shows us how brave and reckless that American sentiment is, how fearsome and splendid."
NY Times's Alessandra Stanley: "Angels" is highly entertaining — closer to "Nicholas Nickleby" than "Einstein on the Beach."
Variety's Todd McCarthy: "Fully capturing the grandeur, extravagance, urgency, poetry and humor of the produced play, the savvy veteran director [Nichols]has brought out an elemental dimension of emotional melodrama that makes the piece compulsive screen fare without subtracting one bit from its status as great theater."

Justin Kirk as Prior Walter; Photo: HBO

And we must say that we're excited to see our friend Justin Kirk getting rave notices for his portrayal of Prior Walter ("scarcely could be better," "vital, quicksilver, revelatory Prior"). Time's profile of him is amusing, noting his WB past on Jack & Jill. Though Angels was a dream job, he tells us what everyone suspects about being on the WB, "I was thrilled to be a WB hunk. It's all I've ever wanted."

A Newsweek interview with Justin, Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, Emma Thompson, Mike Nichols and Tony Kushner reveals the intricacies of adapting the play to screen.