An Angel at My Table

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An Angel at My Table
Angel at my table movie poster.jpg
Directed byJane Campion
Written byLaura Jones
Based onTo the Is-Land &
An Angel at My Table &
The Envoy from Mirror City
by Janet Frame
Produced byGrant Major
Bridget Ikin
StarringKerry Fox
CinematographyStuart Dryburgh
Edited byVeronika Jenet
Music byDon McGlashan
Distributed bySharmill Films (Australia)
Artificial Eye (United Kingdom)
Release date
  • 5 September 1990 (1990-09-05) (Venice Film Festival)
  • 20 September 1990 (1990-09-20) (Australia)
Running time
158 minutes
New Zealand
United Kingdom
Box office$1,054,638 (US and Canada)[1]

An Angel at My Table is a 1990 biographical drama film directed by Jane Campion. The film is based on Janet Frame's three autobiographies, To the Is-Land (1982), An Angel at My Table (1984), and The Envoy from Mirror City (1984).[2] The film was very well received, winning multiple awards including at the New Zealand Film and Television awards, the Toronto International Film Festival and received second prize at the Venice Film Festival.[3]


An Angel at My Table is a dramatisation of the autobiographies of New Zealand author Janet Frame. Originally produced as a television mini-series, the film, as with Frame's autobiographies, is divided into three sections, with the lead role played by three actresses who portray Frame at different stages of her life: Alexia Keogh (child), Karen Fergusson (adolescent), and Kerry Fox (adult). The film follows Frame from when she grows up in a poor family, through her years in a mental institution, and into her writing years after her escape.


  • Kerry Fox as Janet Frame (adult)
  • Alexia Keogh as Janet Frame (child)
  • Karen Fergusson as Janet Frame (adolescent)
  • Iris Churn as Mother
  • Kevin J. Wilson as Father
  • Melina Bernecker as Myrtle
  • Glynis Angell as Isabel
  • Mark Morrison as Bruddie Frame (child)
  • Sarah Llewellyn as June Frame (child)
  • Natasha Gray as Leslie
  • Brenda Kendall as Miss Botting
  • Martyn Sanderson as Frank Sargeson


Impact and reception[edit]

An Angel at My Table was the first film from New Zealand to be screened at the Venice Film Festival, where it received multiple standing ovations and was awarded the Grand Special Jury Prize despite evoking yells of protest that it did not win The Golden Lion.[4] In addition to virtually sweeping the local New Zealand film awards, it also took home the prize for best foreign film at the Independent Spirit Awards and the International Critics' Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film not only established Jane Campion as an emerging director and launched the career of Kerry Fox, but it also introduced a broader audience to Janet Frame's writing.

Roger Ebert gave the film 4 out of 4 stars, stating; "[The film] tells its story calmly and with great attention to human detail and, watching it, I found myself drawn in with a rare intensity".[5] The film also received praise in The Guardian where Derek Malcolm called it "one of the very best films of the year". The Sydney Morning Herald described the film as "deeply moving" and "visionary" while Variety described it as being "totally absorbing".


  1. ^ "An Angel at My Table (1991)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  2. ^ Hunter Cordaiy, "An Angel at My Table", Cinema Papers, November 1990 p 32-36
  3. ^ "Background - An Angel at My Table - Film - NZ On Screen". Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  4. ^ "Jane Campion - NZ On Screen". Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  5. ^ Ebert, Roger (21 June 1991). "An Angel at My Table". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 3 February 2010.

External links[edit]