Movie Review: The Angels’ Share by Jason Burleson

The angels shareThe Angels’ Share is a film I had not heard of until a few weeks ago.  For those that don’t know what the the angels’ share is, it is when a portion of drinkable alcohol evaporates while being fermented inside casks and barrels.  Generally, it’s not very much but some portion of the alcohol always evaporates.  Being a home brewer, I thought this could be a very interesting film, even without knowing much more than that before watching it.  The film is from the UK and has a Scottish cast. Basically, this is a film about Scottish people drinking, yelling obscene things, wearing kilts, and doing all around awesome things.  How could that be bad?

The Angels’ Share is a film about a new father with a history of getting into trouble and trying to start a new life for his new family.  The film follows Robbie (Paul Brannigan) as he serves community service for a crime he committed. While doing this, he meets a motley crew of individuals all serving community service for an allotment of different offenses.   The group easily bonds under the guidance of Harry (John Henshaw, Born and Bred) and form a close kinship. Together they learn the importance of friendship as Robbie fights with his girlfriend’s family and struggles to show them he can change and become a good father.  Eventually, Harry takes the group to a whiskey distillery and teaches them about the art of whiskey making.  This is especially interesting to Robbie as he finds he has a new found talent and nose for the skill.  As Robbie continues to run into hardships proving his worth, he learns of a “Holy Grail” of whiskey to be auctioned off in the near future known as the Malt Mill.  The group decides that their only chance is to steal some of this whiskey, which would be attributed as the angels’ share and start a new life.  Together the groups of friends start out on a journey that could either give them a 2nd chance or cost them everything.

The Angels ShareI absolutely love movies like this. It’s a feel good story about people overcoming hardships and fighting for what they feel is a new lease on life.  Let me start by saying that this movie probably isn’t going to win any awards for being the best movie of the year or anything like that, but I will say most people will enjoy this movie.  It’s just a good story.  The first thing you’ll notice about this film is its sense of humor. It’s hilarious, and from the very beginning you learn that while these people have made mistakes, they are still just people and anyone can relate to them. That’s another amazing thing about this movie.  The characters are honest, loveable, and unique.  They reminded me of the characters from The Goonies.  You have Robbie, the leader who is willing to do anything for his family and friends.  Rhino (William Ruane), who is like the tough guy of the group. Mo (Jasmin Riggins), who is a kleptomaniac and procurer of everything the group needs. Lastly, you have Albert (Gary Maitland), the loveable and stupid mascot of the group.  Each of them is unique and adds a tremendous quality to the story line.  There is one major thing I have to call them out on though.  Maybe it’s just me but I don’t feel like it’s a good idea to bring young criminals to a distillery and get them to drink alcohol, especially Scottish ones.  I feel like it’s just asking for more trouble.  Really, I’m not surprised by it though. I am Scottish.

Most people will love The Angels’ Share.  It reminds me a lot of the feel-good movies from the 80s that we all grew up with.  It may not be perfect and many theatrical prudes may find lots of problems with this film, but it’s still extremely fun to watch.  You’ll leave the theater with the feeling that no matter what your problems are, there is always a way out even if you have to fight for it.  I hope others like it as much as I did.

I give The Angels’ Share 4 “sips of whiskey” out of 5.

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by Jason Burleson

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