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City of Angels is a 1998 film starring Nicolas Cage (far from his Nicolas Rage roots), Meg Ryan, and Sarah McLachlan's music. It's actually a remake of a classic German film, Wim Wenders' 1987 drama Wings of Desire, which is the root of a lot of criticism thrown at this film. Cage plays an angel who falls in love with Meg Ryan's character, a doctor, and chooses to fall from grace and become human. What follows pretty much falls under the Tear Jerker category; if you like it, you like it, but if you don't, oh ho ho.
If you want to watch the movie, reading the tropes that it contains will probably ruin it for you, so spoilers ahoy!
Tropes used include:
- Breakaway Pop Hit: it's appropriate that, alphabetically, this trope comes first, because the film's soundtrack is basically its most memorable aspect. Popular songs that debuted there include:
- Cosmic Plaything: Seth. He chooses to "fall," i.e. become a mortal human, to be with the woman he loves. This is irreversible. Then she promptly gets killed.
- Diabolus Ex Machina
- Downer Ending: Seth is pretty much forced to live out his remaining life as a human without his one true love. He's not being punished but boy does it feel that way to the audience.
- Hollywood Atheist: Averted. Maggie is an atheist until she receives proof that an angel is real.
- Humanity Ensues: Messinger and eventually Seth.
- I Never Told You My Name: A variation. Seth calls Maggie by name and when asked points out that she's wearing a nametag. Later, she pulls off the name tag and it only shows her last name.
- Mood Lighting: The movie mostly takes place at sunrise, sunset, or in soft/dim light, which gives the movie a powerfully emotional feel. It's like a lighting version of Scenery Porn.
- Our Angels Are Different: They walk around in black trenchcoats, look human, speak any language, can travel instantaneously, and can choose whether humans can see them. They have no sense of touch, taste or smell, cannot see color and do not feel fear. They also can choose to become human by literally falling, suicide-style.
- Romantic Runner-Up: Jordan, fairly obviously. He vanishes from the movie completely once Seth finally hooks up with Maggie.
- What Is This Thing You Call Love?: Angels cannot feel human emotions like fear and love.