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Ordinary Angels

Starring Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby) and Alan Ritchson (Reacher), Ordinary Angels tells the true story of a hairdresser who helps a critically ill girl get a life-saving liver transplant, after reading about their plight in the paper and wanting to raise funds to help the family with medical bills. The events transpired in the 1990's in Louisville, Kentucky, involving a widower named Ed who was raising two young girls, both of which had a congenital liver disease and needed treatment. Ordinary Angels is equal parts inspiring and emotional, helmed by two incredible lead performances and telling an important story. For some it'll be too saccharine to stomach, yet it undeniably tugs on the heartstrings.


A struggling hairdresser finds a renewed sense of purpose when she meets a widowed father working hard to care for his two daughters. With his youngest critically ill and waiting for a liver transplant, the fierce woman single-handedly rallies an entire community to help.


Ordinary Angels tells a really beautiful story of a woman doing her very most to help strangers in need, despite not having much herself. We quickly learn that she is single, has a rocky relationship with her son and a severe drinking problem, so is enduring many struggles of her own. Swank's portrayal of Sharon is absolutely fantastic, showcasing emotion, resilience and a charming nature that adds much likeability to the character. The script fleshes her out nicely, making her easy to root for. Starring opposite as Ed Schmitt is Alan Ritchson, who much like Swank manages to pack so much emotion into his performance. Despite his struggles with caring for his daughters, earning enough money to provide and being up to his eyeballs in debt from medical bills, he is reluctant to accept help even when he needs it the most. His character has a wonderful arc, and it's great to see Ritchson achieve more and more with his performance as the run-time progresses. The entire cast are excellent, including the two young actresses in the daughter roles.

Ordinary Angels

Dealing with heavy subject matter, Ordinary Angels explores themes of grief, death, illness, money and addiction. It gives itself a lot to tackle, yet still manages to have something to say in all departments, the script never feeling like it's stretched too thin. The films exploration isn't particularly challenging or thorough, nor is it a piece of commentary, but it ensures to add in some notable discourse on the healthcare system in the US. Ordinary Angels is a very emotional watch, even bordering on tough to sit through at times due to it's heavy plot, but it manages to balance the heart-breaking themes with perhaps the most important message of all – hope. What this does spectacularly well is show us what good can come when we all band together and help each other. It has a really important message about teamwork and faith, highlighting what can be achieved if we decided to pull our fingers out and care for one another. By the end, it's incredibly inspiring and uplifting, putting the viewer through a whirlwind of emotions but ending on a high. Sharon's dedication to helping the Schmitt family is something we should all be made aware of.

In terms of storytelling, Ordinary Angels does nothing new. Following the exact beats you would expect from a true story drama, the film doesn't have much originality which stops it from standing out. The story being told is so impactful and inspiring, that it's easy to wish we got something a little less generic. Furthermore, with the added embellishments to make things a little more 'entertaining' and 'movie-worthy', it often falls into the 'saviour' trope. Things sometimes come too easy for Sharon during her attempts to help the Schmitt's, occasionally feeling unbelievable. It's definitely Hallmark-esque in approach – it's incredibly cheesy and sugar sweet, from it's focus on Christianity to it's messages on community. Ultimately, audience enjoyment will boil down to one thing – whether you enjoy these corny, inspiring true story dramas or not.

Ordinary Angels

Ordinary Angels is undeniably wholesome and uplifting, focusing on a story worth telling. The performances are great, particularly from leads Swank and Ritchson, and it's final fifteen minutes are superbly well-crafted, tear-jerking and memorable. The overall message is positive, restoring faith in humanity at a time where we really need that. It might be overly cheesy, occasionally feeling like a lifetime movie and a touch too sweet to swallow, but it'll put a smile on your face and bring a tear to your eye. The Hollywood embellishments are unnecessary, and this could've tried harder to have it's own flair, but it's a surprisingly good flick that many audiences will enjoy.


Rating Ordinary Angels



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