In 2019, the Australian film Angel of Mine, directed by Kim Farrant, hit the screens. This movie, which is an adaptation of the French film L’empreinte de l’ange (“The Angel’s Imprint”) from 2008, was translated as Desaparecida (“Missing”) in Spanish. Despite positive reviews, Angel of Mine has unfortunately gone unnoticed.
The story revolves around Lizzie (played by Noomi Rapace), a divorced mother who, seven years after losing her baby in a fire, becomes convinced that the sister of her son’s friend is her own daughter. The film, which runs for an hour and a half, portrays the protagonist’s obsession with reclaiming who she believes is her daughter, and the struggles of the girl’s mother, Claire (played by Yvonne Strahovski).
I must admit that this drama is not suitable for everyone, as it delves into the psychological and emotional imbalance of an individual taken to the extreme. From the very beginning, the scenes exude tension, building up throughout the entire movie. Although there is little violence involved (except for a few specific scenes), Noomi Rapace’s performance portrays a profound human weariness that is truly heartbreaking.
One of the film’s highlights is its talented ensemble cast, which includes Luke Evans and Richard Roxburgh, in addition to the actresses mentioned earlier. However, Rapace steals the show, reminding me of Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal in Joker. Both characters end the film worse off than when they started, having stopped taking their medication — one because she believed she didn’t have a problem and the other because he couldn’t afford it.
On the other hand, Strahovski represents the polar opposite of her counterpart: a seemingly stable woman, a loving and understanding mother. However, her character lacks depth, feeling somewhat flat. The male figures in the movie have fewer appearances but are well nuanced.
Desaparecida benefits greatly from its remarkable dubbing. The voice actress Marta Barbará, known for dubbing Strahovski in The Handmaid’s Tale, lends her voice to the character once again, while María Moscardó dubs Rapace.
The film’s soundtrack, composed by Gabe Noel, perfectly complements the tense atmosphere, although choosing a darker melody could have also worked well, considering the movie’s somber tone.
Unfortunately, there are two significant negatives to mention. Firstly, although the plot’s development is well narrated, it lacks a solid foundation and is resolved abruptly. This leads to the second negative aspect: the ending. The way the film concludes is disappointingly self-contained. The filmmakers have missed the mark by trying to sugarcoat a reality that has nothing to do with fairy tales. Lizzie is a mother who distorts the facts, as evidenced by a couple of hallucinations she experiences in the first few minutes of the film. The director should have explored further Lizzie’s internal conflict in distinguishing between her dreamlike world and reality. A more meaningful, professional, and believable ending would have been appropriate.
In conclusion, I recommend Desaparecida to viewers who enjoy dramas, tension, and the nerves that such episodes evoke. However, I would be lying if I said that it didn’t leave me with a bitter aftertaste.
Watch the official trailer for a preview of the movie.