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In Theaters


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Bob Smithouser

Movie Review

Despite the way Angel Eyes starts out, this is not Touched by an Angel for the big screen. Nor is it a supernatural thriller like The Sixth Sense. But give the marketing folks at Warner Bros. credit for creating a mystique about a film that’s little more than a glorified movie-of-the-week about two vexed people carrying around a lot of guilt who fall in love and discover that a year-old tragedy actually connects them (a ho-hum revelation that comes as no surprise to the audience). Tough-as-nails Chicago cop Sharon Pogue lives a lonely existence. Alienated from her family, she’s convinced that turning her dad in for spousal abuse years earlier was the right thing to do. Meanwhile, Catch (the likable Caviezel in another semi-catatonic performance) walks the streets like a zombified good Samaritan working through the fallout from a car wreck that killed his wife and son. After Catch saves Sharon’s life, the two begin seeing each other. They go on one date after another, emotional baggage in tow, until each comes to grips with their painful past.

positive elements: Catch performs good deeds for strangers (from turning off the headlights of parked cars, to rescuing them from crazed gunmen), goes food shopping for a wheelchair-bound relative and offers cheerful greetings to passersby on the street. He believes in being true to one’s word, keeping appointments and caring for stray dogs. During a personal epiphany, Catch mourns the fact that he didn’t slow down and take more time for his family. Sharon experiences a similar breakthrough as she finds it in her heart to forgive her father and focus on good moments from her childhood—even if he still holds a grudge. Domestic violence is portrayed as a sickness passed down from one generation to the next. A third party coaches Sharon on the need for loving patience with someone grieving a loss. At the scene of a car wreck, Sharon intervenes compassionately.

spiritual content: Sharon’s parents renew their wedding vows in a church setting. Her mom wears a cross and wants her marriage to be blessed of God. When asked if, as a police officer, she has ever saved anyone, Sharon responds, “My mother would argue that God is the only one that saves.”

sexual content: Coarse joking and mean-spirited barbs include references to oral sex. Sharon also implies that she would have slept with a guy on the first date if he had just asked. A picnic turns into an impulsive romp as Catch and Sharon strip down to their underwear for a swim, and are then shown coupled on the shore, naked, in the throes of passion.

violent content: Several officers get hit when hoods shoot up a coffee shop. The ensuing chase includes exchanges of gunfire and ends with Catch pulling a gunman off of Sharon just as the thug prepares to shoot her in the head. Sharon arrives at her brother’s house to find her sister-in-law with a black eye, the victim of spousal abuse (the bullying brother is Jeremy Sisto, who played the title role in CBS’ miniseries Jesus). Jerks taken into custody occasionally feel Sharon’s wrath in the form of punches and kicks. There are flashbacks of a violent auto accident.

crude or profane language: More than 40 f-words and about a dozen s-words are among the film’s many obscenities and profanities. Sharon’s swearing is particularly unladylike (not that it’s any better coming from the men). Sexual slang also mars the dialogue.

drug and alcohol content: People drink in a bar and at a jazz club. Despite an unspecified number of beers, Sharon climbs behind the wheel of her jeep, brushing off Catch’s concern that perhaps she shouldn’t drive (she doesn’t seem to be impaired, but she still takes an unnecessary risk). Upon arriving home, she pours herself a glass of J&B.

conclusion: This melodramatic journey toward inner healing (from the same director who helmed the Meg Ryan/Andy Garcia alcoholism heart-tugger When a Man Loves a Woman) is as methodical and calculated as an O-Town record. Sure, it’s nice to see both characters eventually exorcise their family demons, but the audience gets billed for this two-hour therapy session. The cost? About $7.50, a sex scene, some violence and a barrage of obscenities. That’s too high a price for a night at the theater. On a positive note, although Lopez’s character appears in her underwear and is shown having sex onscreen, the public actually sees less of the actress in Angel Eyes than they do on most awards shows.

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Bob Smithouser