City of Angels: synopsis

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How do angels spend their limitless days? Their job is to roam the Earth, listening to people's thoughts, celebrating their lives and deaths, and comforting those in need - but they can't interfere in their fates. Angels are not, and never have been, human beings. Though they care deeply for humankind, they perceive the events, sensations and emotions of people's lives with a certain compassionate wonder.

But what happens if an angel yearns for the most everyday mortal experiences: to taste a pear, to cry, to feel the touch of a hand... to fall in love? And what would an angel be willing to give up for those experiences?

Conversely, what would make a rational mortal woman ­p; a no-nonsense surgeon who firmly relies on her own earthly abilities­p; become drawn to a spiritual man whose very existence is almost impossible for her to accept? How would she have to change to understand him?

In "City of Angels," a story of romance and desire starring Academy Award-winner NICOLAS CAGE and two-time Golden Globe-nominee MEG RYAN, two souls, one mortal and one celestial, must struggle with their willingness ­p; and finally, their need -- to sacrifice everything familiar for the sake of love.

Nicolas Cage plays Seth, a restless angel on duty in Los Angeles, who encounters Dr. Maggie Rice (Meg Ryan), a pragmatic heart surgeon whose sense of control is deeply shaken by losing a patient on her table for no apparent reason. Although Seth is there to aid the dying man, he is immediately drawn to Maggie and wants to help her overcome her crisis of confidence. In the process, he falls in love with her and longs for the sensory world he has observed but cannot experience. Finally, despite its risks, Seth takes the unusual step of becoming visible to Maggie, changing from an imperceptible spirit to a mysterious stranger.

Maggie is intrigued and captivated by Seth, but as their passion for each other deepens, she questions the sanity of loving this perfect man with no past, a man who challenges her most closely held beliefs about the place of faith in her life. Maggie becomes confused, frightened, angry and bewildered by her vulnerability to Seth ­p; but beyond all of those emotions, she falls more deeply in love with him than she ever believed possible.

Meanwhile, Seth grows increasingly frustrated by his new status as a partial occupant of the human world. He is also deeply in love and wants so fervently to share Maggie's life that he considers a momentous proposition - giving up his status as an angel to become a human being, trading immortality for the harsh yet beautiful chaos of living.

How important, how necessary is love? Is it valuable enough to make both of these very certain individuals surrender their certainty?

"City of Angels" is an Atlas Entertainment production in association with Regency Enterprises for Warner Bros. distribution. BRAD SILBERLING is the director and the late DAWN STEEL, and CHARLES ROVEN are the producers. ARNON MILCHAN, ROBERT CAVALLO and CHARLES NEWIRTH are the executive producers. The screenplay is by DANA STEVENS and is based on Wim Wenders' highly acclaimed 1987 German film, "Wings of Desire."

Also starring in "City of Angels" are DENNIS FRANZ as Nathaniel Messinger, a patient of Maggie's who knows Seth's secret, and ANDRE BRAUGHER as Cassiel, Seth's celestial comrade.

An impressive group provides top-notch technical contributions. JOHN SEALE (Academy Award and British Academy Award-winner for "The English Patient") is the director of photography. LILLY KILVERT (Academy Award-nominee for "Legends of the Fall") is the production designer. LYNZEE KLINGMAN (Academy Award-nominee for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest") is the editor; and SHAY CUNLIFFE ("Lone Star," "Dolores Claiborne") is the costume designer. Academy Award-winning composer GABRIEL YARED ("The English Patient") created the movie's haunting score.

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