In AN ANGEL FOR MAY director Harley Cokeliss has assembled a fine cast and production team to bring this 'children's classic' novel by Melvin Burgess to the screen (screenplay by Peter Milligan), and in doing so he has quite successfully transferred a very tender little tale into a full blown motion picture that still maintains the gentle message of Burgess' book.
Tom (Tam in the book - played by Matthew Beard) is a disillusioned young lad, living in a broken home in Yorkshire England, and in need of finding meaning to his brittle life. He happens upon a relic of a structure where he encounters a dog and a 'bag lady', and also the entry port to a trip to the past! Time traveling to WW II he lands in London during the blitz attacks, befriends a young girl named May (Charlotte Wakefield) and then time travels back to the present where he encounters disbelief in his adventure. He feels he must return to the past to save May from an impending doom and in his attempts in doing so he comes to learn much about life, death, devotion, promises, and the effects of the passage of time.
The actors are exceptional, both Beard and Wakefield as children but also Tom Wilkinson and Anna Massey in roles as adults whose participation in Tom's plight are deeply touching. The cinematography is breathtakingly beautiful and the pacing of the direction is excellent. Stories such as this require a certain amount of fantasy participation in order to be effective, and this is where Cokeliss shines. He does not allow the sentiment to become cloying and he maintains enough reality checks between the adults and the children to make us believe in angels a bit. It is a sweet film, very well made, and worth the viewer's time with its important message. Grady Harp, February 06