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Swank gives ‘Ordinary Angels’ Cliched Premise a Boost

February 22, Los Angeles (AP): We get one of those “now see how it really happened” moments at the end of “Ordinary Angels,” where genuine video reflects the movie’s climax. That is a very positive thing. If not, one could be inclined to believe that the filmmakers conjured up a tale that is too sentimental and uplifting to be real. But no, the story of how a strong mother inspired her neighborhood to save a little child in danger actually happened as told. “Ordinary Angels” is one of those movies where you can pretty much foresee what will happen, even with a captivating source material. You can feel it in your bones when a potentially fatal call is going to come in. You can predict when a character will eventually run out of patience, indicating the inevitable Moment of Conflict. And even before the picture of the beers in the refrigerator appears, you can predict when an alcoholic will relapse. Such predictability might be devastating to a movie, but Jon Gunn’s “Ordinary Angels” has one important thing going for it: Hilary Swank. Swank has won two Oscars, we quickly remember, and not for nothing.

She can add reality to almost any situation with her natural groundedness, even when she’s wearing a flashy dress, huge hair, fringed jacket, and pink heels. She gives what could have been a just passing comment its weight, but more significantly, its heart—a Kleenex weepie. But first, we get to know Ed, a roofer from Kentucky (Alan Ritchson, strong and attractive). In a flashback, Ed and his wife welcome their second daughter Michelle at the hospital, and they name her. However, in five years, Ed’s wife is passing away from a hereditary illness. Ed, inconsolable, swears he will look after the girls. Now let’s meet Sharon (Swank), a single hairdresser who has a son who is separated from her. She also leads what is known as a rough life. It implies that we meet her at a bar, of all places, where she dances on the counter, takes shots, stumbles, and ends up a smudged mess covered in mascara. Sharon is compelled to attend an AA meeting by her sage friend Rose—there’s always a wise friend—but she refuses to identify as an alcoholic. Nevertheless, a man at the conference gives her some insightful advise, saying that she should “find a reason to be here that’s bigger than you are.” “Like clockwork, Sharon comes across an article in the neighborhood newspaper about Michelle, Ed’s 5-year-old daughter, who requires a liver donation after her mother passed away. Unannounced, Sharon attends the burial and then tells Rose in the salon that she believes her destiny is to raise the necessary funds for a transplant.

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