V.C. Andrews’ Dark Angel (2019 Lifetime)

V.C. Andrews’ Dark Angel  (2019 Lifetime)

Stars: Annalise Basso, Kelly Rutherford, Jason Priestley

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Synopsis (via Lifetime)

“Dark Angel” picks up directly after Heaven (Annalise Basso) finds a new life in her estranged grandmother and grandfather, Jillian (Kelly Rutherford) and Tony Tatterton’s (Jason Priestley) exquisite Boston mansion, Farthinggale Manor. But even in the world of the wealthy, there are strange forebodings, secrets best forgotten. As Heaven reaches out for love, she is slowly ensnared in a sinister web of cruel deceits. 

Thoughts

Just when I thought I wasn’t ready for another V.C. Andrews’ book adaptation by Lifetime, this movie comes along. 

It picks up right where we left off. Heaven is visiting her wealthy family and meets Tony Tatterton, her step-grandfather. (Jason Priestly, who isn’t a good actor? Has this always been the case? He is AWFUL!) Tony takes Heaven to the mansion, and servants dote on her. The Tatterton family has a toy company, and this explains the “Picture Dolls” from the previous film. Heaven will be staying in her mother, Angel’s old room, which has been kept exactly the same way it was when Angel ran off. 

Jillian Tatterton may have invited Heaven to stay with them, but not indefinitely. Jillian thinks her step-granddaughter is dirty, poor, and annoying and only wants her to stay the weekend. Heaven appeals to her step-grandfather to help convince Jillian to let her live with them. Tony agrees to persuades Jillian, as long as Heaven agrees to obey his every whim. You have to sacrifice to get ahead in life, he tells her. He tells her to leave her backwoods life behind and cut off all contact.   

Jillian and Tony ask Heaven about her mother, and she lies to make things appear better than they really are with her family. She also lies about not keeping in touch with her family and send her brother letters. Heaven is determined to get into college, but instead of studying walks around a hedge maze and finds a small cottage inside. In the cottage is a “handsome” doll maker, his name is Troy Tatterton. He is the brother of Tony and is locked away in a soundproof cabin alone. Heaven doesn’t see any danger in this man and almost drinks wine with him, but the last time she had wine, she had sex with a married man. She runs away and is told to never go back to the hedge maze.

Tony pulls a Lori Loughlin and pays Heaven’s way into a fancy prep school. Heaven is actually pretty smart (Unlike Olivia Jade) and impresses the admissions director. Heaven tells her classmates about her story, and the popular girls make fun of her because she is poor, and her name is Heaven. They call her hillbilly garbage. Despite the rocky start, Heaven makes a friend, and they go look at college boys in a coffee shop. Heaven sees Logan (Her ex-boyfriend from her hometown who is now in Boston for College.) He kissing a girl. This sends Heaven running into the arms of Troy (The cabin brother.)

The brother and his dolls are not enough for Heaven, and she goes to track down Logan, and he basically calls her a whore for sleeping with a married man. So, Heaven goes back to the brother and makes out with him in his cabin, while keeping it a secret from her step-grandfather, Tony.

Formal happens at the prep school, and I am reminded that this movie is taking place in the ’70s? (We can tell this mostly by how the boys are wearing their collars.) The popular girls spike the punch, and Heaven drinks too much and throws up all over the table and the popular girl. Since she is drunk, she might as well get some and goes to Troy in his cabin for some sexy time.

At dinner, Heaven is surprised to see Troy at the table, and they pretend to not know each other in front of Tony and Jillian. (Have I mentioned that Jillian is ALWAYS drinking a martini?) Tony and Jillian tell Heaven that they will be going on a European vacation and won’t be able to make her graduation. Troy and the servants go and support her instead. With her step-grandparents away, Heaven spends the next two weeks with Troy. Troy tells her he is enjoying their time together, but he has a darkness that is with him every second of every day. Heaven brushes it off. (Gurl, take the man at his word!) Troy proposes, and he and Heaven are engaged? He gives Heaven engagement present, the location of all of her siblings, and promises to take her to them before they are married.

Once Tony is back from vacation, Heaven tells him that she is engaged to Troy. Tony is not surprised, he was manipulating the situation the whole time and steered them towards one another. Tony wants Heaven to make her brother happy and take away the darkness. By forbidding Heaven and Troy from being together, he made them want each other more. 

Things might not be as perfect as they seem. Troy is coughing, which means that he is probably going to die. Heaven doesn’t want to leave Troy with the flu but goes to West Virginia to see her sister Fanny. Fanny was living in a trailer park and sold the baby to the reverend for 10K. Fanny is jealous of her sister but takes all the money and jewelry she has. Fanny then asks Heaven to buy back her daughter from the reverend. 

Next, Heaven goes to meet her brother Tom at his job. The circus!?!? Thankfully, Tom isn’t a clown. (I’d have to stop the movie.) We get to see Tom in his element, and Heaven’s father is also working at the circus. He is remarried, off the sauces, and has a newborn baby. Heaven is surprised to see him doing so well and is hurt that he couldn’t clean up for her family. 

Heaven visits the reverend and offers to repay the money that he gave Fanny. He refuses to give the baby back and says that Fanny is a whore and seduced him. Heaven tells the reverend that she will get the baby tested and report to the town what he did to her. 

Also, while she is in town, Heaven settles things with Logan. He apologizes for not realizing that she was taken advantage of by the married man. He also seems to still be having feelings for her, and vise Versa. Heaven is lovesick and falls asleep in her room. She dreams of Troy and Logan interchangeably in an “artistic” dream montage with lots of echoey talking. When Heaven awakes from her dream, she rushes back home to Troy but gets into a car accident. 

Logan pulls Heaven from the car as it starts to storm. He brings her back to her family’s cabin and puts her in bed. She dreams of Troy in the hedge maze but wakes up and tells Logan that she loves him and kisses him. Logan is excited until he realizes that she is having a fever dream and thinks he is Troy. As Heaven sleeps, Logan tells her that he loves her, and losing her is the biggest mistake of his life. (Of course, now Heaven isn’t sleeping and overhears the whole thing.)

Heaven finally arrives at the Tratterton mansion, and Tony meets her at the door. He tells her that he knows she was with her backwoods family and Logan. He demands her to sit down and grills her for the truth. Heaven apologizes for lying and tells him the truth about her family. Tony offers to pay Heaven two million dollars to call off the wedding. 

THE REASON HE WANTS HER TO CALL OFF THE WEDDING IS BECAUSE TONY IS HER BIOLOGICAL FATHER. Therefore, Troy is Heaven’s uncle, who she had sex with. Heaven tells Tony that he molested her mother, and he says that she wanted it. This movie is sooooo problematic when it comes to sexuality and men blaming women for “seducing” them and not being able to control their urges.

Jillian stumbles down the stairs with her martini and tells Heaven that she is ugly and will never be as pretty as she was. Then she calls her a slut and almost slaps her, but goes to fix another drink instead. 

Heaven tells Troy that she doesn’t think they are right for each other, after all. After some thinking, Heaven decides to have sex with Troy one last time. Troy finds out and leaves a note by the bed. Troy can’t take it and drowns himself in the ocean. 

Heaven tells Tony she wants nothing to do with him or her money and leaves the mansion. She earns a full-ride scholarship.

Four years later, Heaven graduates college and sees Tony outside waiting for her. He tells her he is proud of her and gives her a graduation present, a trip to Paris. She refuses and tells him she wants nothing to do with him and tells him you reap what you sow. Heaven is going to go to her hometown. Plans to become a teacher to better the lives of the children in her town.   

Side Note

V.C. Andrews is twisted and not in a fun way. Incest is not entertainment or a plot point. 

Minority Report: NO POC IN THIS MOVIE 

Don’t forget to listen to the Lifetime Uncorked Podcast available on iTunesStitcherSpotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts!

Overall rating

🔪 (1 Knife)

🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷 (5 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 2019 Lifetime

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3 Comments

  1. Great review and spot on! I’ve wondered if V.C dealt with incest in her own life & writing books w/characters who’ve gone through it was some how therapeutic for her. However, she would often write them as a part of a love story where others couldn’t grasp nor support that type of relationship which in reality was perverse. I didn’t have a glass of wine (none in the house) but did have some Oreos & milk!

  2. “Tony pulls a Lori Loghlin and pays Heaven’s way into a fancy prep school.” LOL

    Yeah, I’m with you, this movie is silly, but it is true to the V.C. Andrews novels so it is what it is supposed to be and you know V.C. Andrews sold them books, Gurrlll.

    Anywho, here are my (boiling bathwater) hot takes:

    1. I agree, Jason Priestly as Mr. Tony Tatterton is weirdly stilted when she first arrives. Is this the way a refined gentleman of means speaks in Boston in the 1970″s? Priestly is a silver fox though, so I’ll over look it. The acting is bizarre at this point. I think it gets somewhat better.

    2. Heaven doesn’t drink too much at the school dance, the school mean girl puts Ipecac (barf inducing syrup) in her punch. Mean girls gonna mean.

    3. Troy, the doll maker uncle / fiancee / lover, must have made heaven’s mother’s doll too. But, in the show it depicts Troy as much younger than Leigh/ Angel. So he made this doll when he was what, 10? What? How old is Troy exactly? It’s been so long since I read the books I have forgotten how this plot hole was explained (if at all).

    4. I gather from your quotation marks that you don’t particularly find Troy all that handsome. I think he’s rather attractive myself, but as stated in my reply about the first movie, Heaven, I find the actress playing Heaven to be about as attractive as a ham sandwich. Therefore it is rather inexplicable when she runs to Troy and successfully seduces him. Their relationship was not developed at all and it seems odd and out of character that she’s suddenly all seductress, sex-pot with him. It seems even odder to me that he falls for it. I guess he’s REALLY, REALLY lonely and any port in a storm will do. Or is it that he’s a pedo? I mean, he is a man in this V.C. Andrews world and so far we have met exactly one good man (as far as we know), Heaven’s brother. Every other dude is a child predator, a misogynist, or a mean drunk or crazy or some combination of them all.

    5. Is Heaven really all that broken up about her ex high school crush smooching another gal? I mean Heaven had a full blown, hardcore sexual relationship with a married dude for quite some time. If perfectly “virtuous, beautiful, and intelligent” Heaven actually gave two sh**s about Logan she would be happy that he moved on.

    5. Hallelujah folks! A cure for depression and / or other vaguely defined mental illness has been discovered! All one needs is merely a cursory discussion of the problem and “love”. I guess all sufferers of mental illness can throw out their Prozac and Lithium and just have secret sex with an underaged, blood-relative instead!

    6. Finally some truth-telling! Heaven’s grandmother tells Heaven that she is prettier than Heaven. This is true! The actress playing Heaven is uglier than the actress playing her grandmother! This is a thing from the books ya know, but in the books it’s not true at all. The grandmother is profoundly eaten up with jealousy because, although she is very attractive, her daughter and and grand daughter respectively are both even more stunningly attractive (and young which adds insult to injury). The grandmother’s comment is supposed to be mean projection and jealousy. In this movie it is just mean truth-telling. Sorry, I just cannot get over how plain-Jane this actress is. Heaven is supposed to be a bombshell. This actress is just not that, and I find it problematic because much of the premise of this story is on how fucking drop dead, chew your hand off for a kiss beautiful Heaven is supposed to be. I was promised Anne Hathaway, I was given Ann B. Davis.

    7. I thought Troy’s coughing meant he was on death’s door too. Instead he just had a cold and therefore couldn’t possibly travel with his true love on the most important trip of her life? What a Mensch! And… that’s all the cough was, just a plot device to get Heaven to travel alone?

    8. Ugh, everything Fanny. All I can say is that Fanny’s logic skillz are sub-par. I guess, if we are supposed to believe that Heaven in the paragon of superior intellect then Fanny’s thinking skills are normal? In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. Anywho, this plan of Fanny’s is silly and so is Heaven’s feeble and poorly thought out attempt to enact it. In the end, Heaven (practically a Rhodes Scholar as we are repeatedly led to believe) decides that what is best for the baby is to be left in the care of a CHILD RAPIST, rather than her slutty, drunken sister. In this world there can be no middle ground or alternate plan. No need for police, child services, or lawyers to intervene.

    9. I have no idea the point of what the car wreck, rain shower, fevered Troy-Logan dream thing means. Either she is so sick she actually thinks Logan is Troy and then kisses the mistaken man or she is lucid and does it on purpose. She can’t in one minute be kissing the wrong dude in a fever induced state of confusion, then roll over and be perfectly coherent to hear and comprehend Logan’s love confession. What? It’s all moot anyway, cause the next morning it’s all good in the hood when perfectly healthy Heaven takes off back to Troy. Are we supposed to think that Troy is back home dying during all of this? I guess this is foreshadowing? I dunno.

    10. Additional questions: Did Heaven crash her car conveniently next to her childhood home? Has anyone been in the house in the last year? Isn’t it gross, moldy and dusty after a year of abandonment? Is there electricity and plumbing? Why didn’t Logan take her to a hospital or somewhere cleaner? Why does Heaven leave her old house on foot the next morning? Did she call a cab? Did she hitch hike? Did she walk back to her crashed car? Does her crashed car still run? Why not let Logan drive her somewhere, like to a bus stop or a phone? I don’t understand. Then again, I possess the intellect of a mere mortal and cannot possibly fathom the complexities of Heaven’s vastly superior brain.

    11. Then we find out the terrible, no good, rotten truth, Heaven is Tony T’s rape daughter. That tracks. Which means that Troy is her uncle. OMG,SHE’S BEEN FUCKING HER UNCLE! So she barfs up her lunch, sprays Lysol on her naughty parts, breaks up with him and undergoes years of intensive counseling, the end.

    Ha, ha! I kid! Actually, Troy then learns that he is Heaven’s uncle and he proceeds to bath himself in bleach, breaks up with her, and enters into the priesthood to make contrition for his vile deeds by serving the lord and doing good works for the people, the end.

    Ha, ha, still kidding! Actually no, what really happens is that when Troy and Heaven learn that they are VERY closely related to each other they are both so squicked-out and disturbed with this information that they FUCK AGAIN! I mean they didn’t just cry in each others arms lamenting the painful twist that fate has dealt them, no, they full-on, PORN STAR fucked their way all over that cabin. Then, only after they feverishly boned on every surface in the cottage did Troy end it. It seems that at that point, why even bother breaking up at all? They don’t have to disclose that they’re related and they don’t have to get married. Why not just keep keepin’ on? I mean, I think it’s gross, but they obviously don’t. They’re clearly not repulsed by the information. I’m not saying it’s the right thing to do, but in this world it seems a relatively (fun with puns!) healthy relationship. You know, in that Troy is only guilty of statutory rape, and not RAPE, RAPE, like his monster brother, and Troy doesn’t have a debilitating alcohol addiction which makes him abusive, he just has a slight case of the already cured-by-love, vaguely defined crazies. What could be more perfect?

    12. Unable to defend himself from the sexual advances of the homely and basic Heaven, Troy knows that he cannot stop himself from defiling his own significantly younger niece seven ways to Sunday every time he sees her, so he dumps her. He dumps her the only way one can really dump an underaged relative that one’s been having nasty, next-level, make-a-veteran-prostitute-blush sex with – by leaving a dramatic note and leaving one’s clothing on the beach and naked killing one’s self by drowning.

    Heaven morns, goes to college and becomes a teacher. The end.

    Leaps in logic aside, this is quintessential V.C. Andrews. I read these books when I was in the 5th and 6th grades. I loved them then and this is why I am enjoying the hell out of this magical, senseless incestuous, dysfunctional ride now. What a treat, just leave your brains at the door!

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