Picks and Pans Review: Angels & Insects

updated 02/12/1996 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/12/1996 AT 01:00 AM EST

Mark Rylance, Kristin Scott Thomas, Patsy Kensit, Douglas Henshall

When a husband declares, "We're going to be so happy," to his new bride early on in any movie, it doesn't take Jeane Dixon to know there's trouble ahead. And trouble there is for this pair, an impoverished naturalist (Rylance), just returned to Victorian England after years spent up the Amazon studying insects, and his high-strung, aristocratic wife (Kensit).

A tale of sexual passion and perfidy, Angels is a handsome costume drama based on A.S. Byatt's 1992 novel Morpho Eugenia. The naturalist, who is living off the generosity of a rich nobleman while cataloging the older man's insect collection, falls in love with and marries the man's daughter. Rylance soon finds himself studying at close range some two-legged specimens far nastier than any to be found among his beloved creepy crawlers. His new wife and her boorish brother (Henshall) harbor a Big Secret, one that most viewers will guess early on, but it takes Rylance several years (and nearly the entire film) to figure it out.

The film's standout performance comes from Thomas (Four Weddings and a Funeral), who plays a poor relation of the rich family. Looking like a young Margaret Hamilton, she's the one who smartly sees Rylance for the true gentleman that he is and sets her bonnet for him. (Not Rated)

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