Idiots with Wings
Bill Plympton’s animated Angel is a selfish and morally bankrupt man, a cartoon character who could give the Grinch a run for this money and probably scare the bejesus out of Tim Burton’s weirdest nightmare. As a haunting musical score weaves throughout the film’s stark gray images interspersed with specks of color, I could almost smell the stank of Angel’s soul.
For reasons that are left unknown, Angel wakes up one day with wings on his back. Try as he might to have these appendages removed either by a doctor or through self-mutilation, these wings remain attached to his body. The presence of these holy appendages force him to keep doing good deeds, a dilemma that climaxes in a drawn out battle for good and evil. But just at the moment when the film is about to take us down some Jimmy Stewart road towards redemption, this fallen angel defies conventional Hollywood wisdom. By choosing a more jagged path, Plympton affords viewers a rare peek into the divine spark that lurks deep inside even the most depraved of sinners.
Currently Idiots & Angels is playing in limited theatrical release. Check out the website for cities and dates.
Becky Garrison is a satirist/storyteller whose most recent book is Roger Williams’s Little Book of Virtues (Wipf & Stock, March 2020). Also, she edited Love, Always: Partners of Trans People on Intimacy, Challenge and Resilience (Transgress Press, 2015). Her six books include 2006’s Red and Blue God, Black and Blue Church (PW, starred review).