An Angel at My Table

An Angel at My Table
Directed by Jane Campion
Produced by Grant Major
Bridget Ikin
Written by Laura Jones
Based on To the Is-Land &
An Angel at My Table &
The Envoy from Mirror City
by Janet Frame
Starring Kerry Fox
Music by Don McGlashan
Cinematography Stuart Dryburgh
Edited by Veronika Jenet
Distributed by Sharmill Films (Australia)
Fine Line Features (US)
Artificial Eye (UK)
Alliance Films (Canada)
Release dates
  • 5 September 1990 (1990-09-05) (Venice Film Festival)
  • 20 September 1990 (1990-09-20) (Australia)
Running time
158 minutes
Country Australia
New Zealand
United Kingdom
Language English
Box office $1,054,638 (US and Canada)[1]

An Angel at My Table is a 1990 New Zealand-Australian-British[2] 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).[3] 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.[4]


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: Karen Fergusson (child), Alexia Keogh (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.



Impact and reception

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.[5] 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".[6] 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. "An Angel at My Table". British Film Institute. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  3. Hunter Cordaiy, "An Angel at My Table", Cinema Papers, November 1990 p 32-36
  4. An Angel at My Table background - NZ On Screen
  5. Jane Campion profile - NZ On Screen
  6. Ebert, Roger (21 June 1991). "An Angel at My Table". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 3 February 2010.

External links

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