Michael (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes


Michael (1996)



Critic Consensus: John Travolta plays an angel in Nora Ephron's maudlin Michael, a grating comedy that doesn't tap into the heavenly charms of her best work.

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Movie Info

Traditionally, angels are supposed to have snowy wings, spotless flowing robes and be bathed in heavenly light, but not Michael (John Travolta). With a hairy pot belly, long hair, a cigarette addiction, an insatiable sugar craving and filthy wings, the archangel Michael is anything but angelic looking. His unkempt appearance and the fact that he is found holed up in a ramshackle boarding house in a beat-up Iowa backwater, makes it even harder to believe that he is anything but a bum. Still when the publisher of the National Mirror, the country's top tabloid learns there may be an angel afoot, he sends three reporters out to cover the story. Slightly embittered writer Frank Quinlan (William Hurt) hopes the story will bust him out of his slump. Hapless photographer Huey (Robert Pastorelli) worries that one more botched job will cause publisher Vartan Malt (Bob Hoskins) to take away his one lucrative gig shooting celebrity wonder-dog Sparky. The enigmatic Dorothy (Andie MacDowell) is supposedly an expert on all things angelic. Together the disparate trio travel to Iowa and meet Pansy Millbank (Jean Stapleton) the aged owner of a run-down rooming house who tells them how Michael miraculously saved her from financial ruin. In return, she allows him to stay at her place. Naturally, the reporters want to meet this phenomenon, but they are ill-prepared at what groggily stumps down the stairs to greet them. From the stubble-faced, boxer-short wearing, smouldering mess before them, they learn that all high-ranking angels are allowed 26 Earthly vacations for all eternity. This is Michael's final vacation and he wants to have fun. The reporters only want to get as much publicity as they can from their ethereal visitor and so set off with him to Chicago. Along the way, they have many funny misadventures.

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Andie MacDowell
as Dorothy Winters
William Hurt
as Frank Quinlan
Bob Hoskins
as Vartan Malt
Robert Pastorelli
as Huey Driscoll
Jean Stapleton
as Pansy Milbank
Teri Garr
as Judge Esther Newberg
Wallace Langham
as Bruce Craddock
Richard Schiff
as Italian Waiter
Donald J Lee Jr
as court bailiff
Don Lee
as Court Bailiff
Jane Lanier
as Suzanne
John Hussey
as minister
Margaret Travolta
as Reporter No. 1
David Bernstein
as Reporter No. 2
Betsy Sokolow
as Reporter No. 3
Tracy Doyle
as reporter
Tracey A. Doyle
as Reporter No. 4
Debrah Nunez
as Woman No. 1
Dell Aldrich
as Woman No. 2
Kay Colvin
as Woman No. 3
James Garrell
as old geezer
James N. Harrell
as Old Geezer No. 1
Peyton E. Park
as Old Geezer No. 2
Dianne Dreyer
as Jennifer
Tim Harrison
as Slacker No. 1
Daniel Mimura
as Slacker No. 2
Mark Nutter
as counterman
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News & Interviews for Michael

Critic Reviews for Michael

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (12)

I feared that Nora Ephron's angel movie, Michael, would offer another heap of predigested uplift but was pleasantly surprised to find something quirkier and more off-center.

December 6, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Travolta's charismatic presence is the only positive element in Nora Ephron's flawed romantic fable marred by rough narrative spots and scattered direction, again showing that Ephron lacks the most basic technical skills.

December 27, 2006 | Rating: C-
Top Critic

Some moments as lovely as the smell of cookies, especially the dance number.

August 20, 2003 | Rating: 3/5
Top Critic

Fatally earthbound.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 1.5/4
Top Critic

Michael doesn't set up big drama or punch up big moments. It ambles. Travolta, using the same offhand ease that worked in Phenomenon, works his magic on the humans without even seeming to have his mind much on his job.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

An unfocused mess that, despite a few highlights, is one of Ephron's weakest films.

September 23, 2020 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Michael

I love this Movie somuch. It makes you believe Wonders happen.

Wahida K
Wahida K

Super Reviewer

Not one of Travolta's best, but I definitely liked it more than I anticipated I would.

Jason Owens
Jason Owens

Super Reviewer


Not a great film. Ok, but not that great.

Tim Salmons
Tim Salmons

Super Reviewer

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