Vanessa Redgrave is such a reliable pro that even when she is cast as an eccentric recluse in Peter O'Fallon's A Rumor of Angels, she brings dignity to her role and a certain cachet to the whole movie. A variant of the coming-of age genre, this soft melodrama offers a look at James Neubauer (Trevor Morgan), a 12-year-old boy spending a summer on the Maine coast with his eccentric uncle (Ron Livingston). Despite good acting from the entire cast, yarn is a dull and predictable, straining too hard to convey its spiritual message, which means that its future is more likely to be on cable and premium channels than on the big-screen.
Rumor of Angels, O'Fallon follow-up to his more striking debut, Suicide Kings, reps a change in format, pacing, and sensibility–not necessarily for the better. Isolated from his busy and severe father, Nathan (Ray Liotta), and resentful of his new stepmom, Mary (Catherine McCormack), James is haunted by imagery of the senseless car accident that killed his mother two years ago. What helps James tolerate his pain and come to terms with death is his friendship with the mysteriously crazy Maddy (Redgrave) after shattering her fence, an event that forever changes his life.