Movie Review - Ice Angel (2000)

by Emily


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https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0211426/

Country: Canada / United States

Language: English

Type of story: Supernatural Body Swap

Does it show the transformation? No.

Sexuality: Doesn’t change

Nudity: No.

How I watched it: I found it on YouTube with poor quality.

When I last watched it: December 27, 2023


The title of the original TV movie was Ice Angel. When it was released on DVD it was retitled On Thin Ice: Going For the Gold.


My synopsis (spoiler-free):


If I had to describe this movie in terms of other movies.  It’s Heaven Can Wait (1978) meets Switch (1991) meets The Cutting Edge (1992).  A TG “Ice Hockey Player learns to Figure Skate” movie.


Matt Clark (Aaron Smolinski) is an American ice hockey player, and has aspirations about winning the gold medal at the Olympics.  During one of his games, an errant puck strikes him in the head, killing him. Matt wakes up in Heaven. It turns out he wasn’t supposed to die, it was  because of a mistaken angel. Unfortunately Matt can’t go back because his body is long gone.  He desperately wants to get back to earth so he can win gold. To rectify this, Matt is sent back, but as Olympic figure skater Sarah Bryann (Nicholle Tom).  


* * Spoilers ahead * *


Actually… I’m not sure if there are any spoilers as the movie is pretty predictable.  Matt learns to live life as Sarah, and decides he wants to continue his goal of getting to the Olympics - thus he learns how to figure skate.  Eventually he lets go of his past and learns to be Sarah.


The transformation: Matt wasn’t supposed to die on the ice. Instead an Angel of Death, Allan (Brendan Beiser), was there for someone else, but was too busy watching the game, and got in the way of the puck.  It ricocheted off Allan and hit Matt right between the eyes.  Matt wakes up in heaven talking to Peter (perhaps Saint Peter?). Peter explains that they were going to send him back, but his body had already been cremated.  So they’ll find him a new body.  Matt insists it be someone who can win a gold medal at the Olympics.  The angel agrees, Matt disappears, and wakes up in a hospital as Sarah. As Matt comes to, fellow figure skater Tracy (real life figure skater Tara Lipinski), who is at Sarah’s bedside, calls for the nurses.  Matt asks for a mirror.  And when he sees his new face, he screams and starts yelling at Allan.


Nicholle Tom’s performance: Was actually pretty good. There was a scene in the hospital where Sarah was arguing with Allan. Matt popped out of Sarah’s body to continue arguing, then popped back into Sarah, and she picked up right where he left off.


Sarah’s Character Arc: Her arc was mostly about letting go of the past and moving forward. She also learns to be a woman and to ice skate with the help of Tracy.


Sexuality: Matt is straight and engaged to Danielle (Jud Tylor).  When Matt becomes Sarah, she doesn’t date, so her sexuality is unknown. Certainly a missed opportunity.


Does this Movie pass the Bechdel test? Actually it does - most of the cast is women and figure skaters. There’s no mention of men.  The cast talks mostly about… figure skating.


How it ends: Sarah gets to the Olympics.  She sees Matt’s best friend and hockey teammate Roy (Thomas Calabro) with Matt’s fiancée, Danielle.  Danielle is pregnant. At first, Sarah is pissed that Roy swooped in and started dating Danielle, but when she confronts Danielle, she confirms what the audience already knows - it’s Matt’s baby. Sarah gives her blessing to the couple.  Danielle offers Sarah a seat at the hockey game.


At second intermission of the hockey game, Sarah breaks into the men’s locker room to give her former team a pep talk.  Despite that going over their heads, and Sarah being escorted out, Roy finally takes leadership of the team and they win.


The next day during figure skating, Sarah gives it her all. Peter and Alan are in the stands and Peter mentions that after the routine, Sarah won’t remember Matt at all - something that it appears Sarah is already aware of. She finishes her routine to the crowd’s applause.  The End.


Random Notes:

  • Sarah’s second intermission pep talk is similar to Matt’s pep talk at the beginning of the movie.  If I have to hear Oggie Oggie Oggie, one more time, I’m going to throw something!

  • Before the third period, Danielle has something important to tell Matt. We, the audience, can already guess what that is.

  • There is a door in Peter’s office in Heaven that leads to nowhere (literally).  Why is the door even there? And if it happens “all the time” why not put a lock on it?

  • When they first introduce Allan, he’s actually sitting at a desk talking with the original Sarah who just died. 

  • Allan’s two rules for Matt:

    • Don’t tell anyone you’re Matt Clark.

    • Don’t seek out Matt’s friends or loved ones. But a ‘loophole’ allows other people to find him.

  • The hospital scene dragged out way too long. Too much of Sarah’s parents thinking she’s crazy and the doctor being unsure why she came back to life. (She had been on life support.)

  • When Sarah gets home, her parents must’ve forgotten she suffered brain damage - because they seem to think her weird behavior isn’t related.  They want her to see a shrink.

  • The first morning we get treated to Sarah attempting to get dressed.  She tries on heels, a bra, and a backwards dress.  She eventually gives up and puts on a workout outfit to her mom’s dismay.

  • Sarah attempts to drive to skating practice, until her dad reminds her she doesn’t have a driver’s license.

  • In the car, Sarah and her Dad have an awkward conversation where they misinterpret what each other is saying.  Dad is talking about Sarah seeing a shrink.  She thinks he’s talking about her sex life. This is the only time sex is mentioned in the movie.

  • At skate practice we are introduced to her teammates.  In addition to Tracy and other unnamed girls, we also meet Julie (real life skater, Nancy Kerrigan) and Coach Parker (Alan Thicke).

  • Since Matt - now Sarah - doesn’t have the faintest clue about figure skating, she shows up to practice in hockey pads. When she attempts stunts, she falls. A lot!

  • 44 minutes into the movie, Sarah realizes she can reconnect with Roy by getting to the Olympics.  This encourages her to start taking figure skating seriously and practicing.

  • When Sarah realizes she needs help, she enlists frenemy and competitor, Tracy, to teach her.  She admits that sometimes the moves come to her like muscle memory. This is likely related to the ending somehow.

  • Despite Sarah never saying Matt’s name, Danielle realizes Sarah is Matt when she uses a nickname only Matt used - and the baby kicks when Sarah leaves.

  • And despite Sarah never saying it, Roy realizes she’s Matt when she gives a Matt-like pep talk and completes the “Oggie Oggie Oggie” chat.

  • Before Sarah’s routine, Roy shows up and gives Sarah Matt’s gold medal.


About that ending again:  So what I don’t get is why will Sarah forget having been Matt after the routine. Is it an unmentioned third rule? Peter and Allan treat it as though it was expected all along. Does summoning Sarah’s skills remove a part of Matt? If she forgets Matt, does she still remember the past several months? Does she remember connecting with Roy and Danielle? Are the memories of Matt’s entire life replaced with Sarah’s? How about challenging the guys to street hockey? None of this is explained, leaving me wishing for a better ending.


Overall impression: It’s decent.  Kinda feels like it’s missing more subplots. It's not as cringy and problematic as some of the other TG movies I’ve reviewed. Of course, it’s a Fox Family made-for-TV movie, so it’s a quick and somewhat shallow movie that really only exists to take advantage of the then-popularity of big name figure skaters Tara Lipinski and Nancy Kerrigan.

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Emily

Hi, I'm Emily and I'm writing Gender Transformation Fiction! This site is a place for me to keep all of my stories in one place. I'm also a software developer in the daytime, so this site will also be a proving ground of cool new features that pop into my head. Feel free to message me on Twitter or at my Discord Server! You can also find me on TGStorytime.com and FictionMania.tv.

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