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Angel Baby Review

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Two schizophrenics meet during therapy and fall passionately in love. Ahead of them lies the inevitable road to disaster...one they share to the end.

★★★★

A powerful and shocking tale which focuses on the unlikely romance between two mental patients. Harry (Lynch) is an intelligent dreamer prone to hearing voices in his head, while Kate (McKenzie) is a tortured rebel in a world she can't cope with.

The illusion of some semblance of normality is maintained only by their medication. As kindred spirits, they can stick two fingers up at a disapproving world and find the inner harmony neither has known before. However, when Kate finds herself with child, they are faced with a cruel dilemma — if they continue to take their medicine, they risk damaging the baby, while stopping would risk their sanity.

When they turn to their social workers, the only solution they're offered is abortion. As the pair dig in their heels, the strain begins to show — Harry stops taking his pills out of empathy, but loses his job while Kate is sectioned. He springs her and they go into hiding, but they're both beginning to lose their grip on reality and start slipping dangerously towards psychosis.

The gradual decline from love's young dream into madness is disturbing to witness, but skilfully handled. Lynch turns in a thoughtful, multi-layered performance, and McKenzie is every bit as mesmerising. Debut director Rymer, meanwhile, extracts humour where by rights there should only be hopelessness, and blends in some intensely touching romance amid the horror.

Not everybody's cup of tea, but few recent films have conveyed quite so effectively the heartbreak of doomed passion and tragedy over triumph without resorting to a clutch of off-the-peg clichés.