A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that When Angels Sleep is a gritty crime drama with horror elements. A hapless executive falls asleep at the wheel and kills a girl. He follows that act of irresponsible stupidity with many more, leading to lies, violence, and criminal acts that can't be politely walked back. Drug use is shown, including by teens. Teens drink alcohol as well. Teens have sex without nudity, and language includes "f--k," "s--t," ass," "d--k," and "bitch." There are stabbings, impalements, strangulations, and brutal beatings.
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What's the story?
WHEN ANGELS SLEEP begins as German (Julian Villagran), a spineless mid-level executive, misses his young daughter's birthday party and is rebuked by his impatient wife. He decides to drive home as quickly as possible, through the night, falling asleep at the wheel. The police pull him over and compassionately bring him to a motel. Instead of sleeping there, he gets back on the road, falls asleep again, and kills a drunken teenager. Her friend, Sylvia (Marian Alvarez), runs from him, thinking he drove into her friend on purpose. German lies repeatedly, at first trying to blame another driver for the fatality. Afraid the girl will report him and ruin his life, he chases her, which scares her. Their encounters become increasingly violent as she's convinced he wants to kill her, too.
Is it any good?
This drama/horror movie will tax anyone's tolerance for watching stupid people struggle with their stupidity. There may indeed be humans capable of making this many bad decisions one after the other, but it would be hard to make the case for watching a movie about them. Teens may recognize that their peers often need to work on the quality of their judgments, but here adults win the Worst Decision Possible awards repeatedly. The resentful wife pressures her over-tired husband to drive through the night. He keeps driving after the first time he falls asleep, even after being stopped by the police. The police make the wrong choice, too. And the girl who fears for her life might best conceal her plan to put the driver in jail, at least until after he delivers her to a safe hospital, rather than giving him reason to off her.
Most disturbing of all, the movie makes the cynical case that the privileged can get away with shockingly self-serving and antisocial behavior despite illusions that they are "good people." Having said all of this, Villagran gives a ferocious performance as a weak, crazed, irresponsible man who, until the last possible moment, maintains that everyone should see this horrific, indefensible story from his selfish point of view.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what is the best thing to do when you make a mistake. What do you think German's punishment would have been in When Angels Sleep if he'd turned himself in right after hitting the girl? How do you think that would compare to proper punishment for all the damage he later did after that first terrible act?
Gloria made a poor decision that ultimately ended in her death. How could she have handled her dispute with her parents better?
Do you think we are all responsible for our own fates? Do you think people think far enough ahead when they make seemingly unimportant decisions?
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