Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 18
  2. Negative: 8 out of 18

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Critic Reviews

  1. Director Nora Ephron and her co-writers, sister Delia plus Pete Dexter and Jim Quinlan (the latter two wrote the original story), bring a smart contemporary sensibility to the hokum, hilarity and heart-tugging that have made for many a classic Hollywood entertainment.
  2. For a movie about all sorts of warm and gooey things -- faith, surrender to wonder, and the possibility of love in a hard, cold world -- it's got a bracingly astringent edge.
  3. 75
    Michael doesn't set up big drama or punch up big moments. It ambles.
  4. Before this turns to total mush, it's a quirky, fitfully effective fantasy periodically enlivened by the cast.
  5. 63
    It's a little too low-key to be an effective romance and a little too soft to be anything more ambitious. Ultimately, it's neither offensive nor horrible; it's just another unspectacular, uninspired entry on Nora Ephron's erratic resume.
  6. The movie is so busy applying cute touches to everything and everybody that it forgets to devote enough attention to the souls Michael has come down to save.
  7. The best movie she ever directed was "This Is My Life," a biting comedy she also wrote that was soundly defeated by both critics and audiences. I think she's lost her nerve and her edge ever since.
  8. But wouldn't it be heavenly if a like proportion of Tinseltown producers believed in an existing need for a good script. Because this one ain't good; in fact, it's hellishly mediocre, the kind that aims for holiday charm and settles for workaday torpor.
  9. Nora Ephron's comedy tries to be sweet, hip, innocent, and sophisticated all at the same time, and it doesn't take long for these contradictory goals to cancel one another out.
  10. 40
    The script is clich├ęd and uninspired, the tone veering uneasily between unamusing comedy and over-sincere drama, all theological issues are weakly circumvented and the characters hardly relate to each other, let alone to any of their onscreen activities.
  11. USA Today
    Reviewed by: Susan Wloszczyna
    Director/co-writer/co-producer Nora Ephron is best known for the magical Sleepless in Seattle. Michael is mirthless in the Midwest. [24 Dec 1996 Pg.03.D]
  12. The director, Nora Ephron, displays her peerless gift for making everything seem snappy and mushy at the same time, and Travolta's performance has a slovenly, I-can-do-anything-and-you'll-still-love-me obnoxiousness.
  13. The New Republic
    Reviewed by: Stanley Kauffmann
    The banality of the plot and the writing make the presence in the cast of the celebrated William Hurt, Andie MacDowell and Bob Hoskins all the more disheartening. [03 Mar 1997 Pg.30]
  14. Reviewed by: Emanuel Levy
    John Travolta's charismatic screen presence is the only element that propels Michael over its rough narrative spots and scattered direction.
  15. Nora Ephron directed it and had a hand in the screenplay, but without Travolta this film would have no reason for being.
  16. This kind of angel stuff is classic Hollywood fare, especially at Christmastime. Thus, it's all the more wonder that director Nora Ephron has missed and mishandled so many of her cues.
  17. After the disastrous "Mixed Nuts," her last holiday season folly, Ephron appears to have hunkered down for a career of pandering mediocrity.
  18. 20
    John Travolta should realize that people appreciate him, maybe more than ever, but that he should start making movies people won't feel ashamed for having seen if he wants to avoid co-starring with a talking lemur in the future.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 69 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 1
  2. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Aug 27, 2014
    Just as an angel, it's soft and delicate. There aren't too many big moments, but along the way you do develop feeling. You can likely thankJust as an angel, it's soft and delicate. There aren't too many big moments, but along the way you do develop feeling. You can likely thank Nora Ephron for that. Full Review »