Eye For Film >> Movies >> No Angels (2004) Film Review
It's time to get out a bottle of Chardonnay and settle down with Dido as she sings her way through no.1 album No Angel - live at the Brixton Academy. Only kidding.
The makers of This Life have created a perfect antidote to the poisonously bland representation of modern womanhood as exemplified by the likes of Dido, Norah Jones and the sisterhood of tasteful beige. They haven't strayed too far from a winning formula, though - it's basically This Life with nurses instead of lawyers.
No Angels is like a fictional version of one of those Channel 5 expose programmes - When Nurses Go Bad. Although it's unashamedly stereotypical in its portrayal of four nurses, who live and work together, suggesting that they drink too much and sleep around, it could pass for gritty realism. Tchah! Youth of today...
Like the best observational comedy, it deals in exposing simple truths through humour and swearing, combined with cracking one-liners that I shall be stealing and passing off as my own. It gets the group dynamics of female friendship spot on and the moments when life/death issues intrude on the shagging, boozing and bitching are genuinely moving.
The only problem with this 10-part drama is that you simply cannot pick a favourite character. It would be like choosing between Hugh Grant and Colin Firth in Bridget Jones' Diary - an impossible dilemma for women everywhere, yet incomprehensible to men.
You might not WANT to identify with gold-digging bimbo Beth and her quest to bag a rich husband, or chirpy Anji's determination to shag every man in Leeds before her arranged marriage; single-mother Lia might be a bit cold and cynical, or public school Kate too soppy and neurotic, but after you've spent a few episodes in their company, you'll wish all your mates were nurses. And then you'll sign up for private health care. Just in case.
No Angels is probably the most realistic medical drama on British television. The hospital wards are shabby and rundown, staff spend as much time filling out forms as dealing with patients, everyone is overworked and over stressed. And sometimes they accidentally kill the patients and then cover it up. It's like biological warfare on these wards - nurses versus doctors and every time someone forgets, it ends in tears all round. But hey, you've gotta laugh...Reviewed on: 02 Jun 2005