Why ISN'T this film on DVD? It deserves to live forever.
Enchanted April (1991)
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Why ISN'T this film on DVD? It deserves to live forever.
Two women decide to pool their resources in answer to an ad for a month's rental of a villa in Italy. Due to financial circumstances, two other women join them. Two have humdrum marital lives; one is an elderly woman who prefers to live in the past; the fourth is a wealthy and beautiful woman wholly jaded by life.
As the spell of the villa permeates their spirits, each grows in her own way and is uplifted in her outlook. This also changes the people in their lives who have visited them. As they leave you know the magic of the villa will remain with them...and you will find your outlook altered, for the better. A delightfully uplifting movie!
The movie has been on air in town for a brief period, about ten days in a very small cinema at sleazy area. Though I missed the show, some ten years later I borrowed it from British Council again, now the library of BC has been closed down.
Magic Italy, who can resist its charm? Rational and cool-headed English people always find the southern Mediterranean countries a place to channel their suppressed feeling and emotion, and Italy of course is one of the choices.
At that conservative time, married housewives usually travelled overseas with their husbands. These four women who were suffering from various kinds of unhappiness find refuge to lick their crooked feathers at an Italian island. After reflecting on their lives, they are much refreshed. And further afield in London, during the absence of their wives, the husbands also have revelation about their life goals and go to the island to join their life partners. And happily, the cynical Caroline Dester found her love too.
The cinematography was lyrical and comforting, a landmark of many European movies. Solely by watching without thinking careful about the people or other things, the movie soothes one's weary soul and heart.
I tried to dig up Elizabeth von Arnim's other novels but they were not available easily now. Thank you Mike Newell, otherwise we'll never know her and her enchanting works.
The cast is full of well known British actors and they are brilliant in their roles. I watch this movie when I feel the need to relax and unwind. It is very well directed and tends to follow the book pretty closely, which is unusual for a director. The scenery and the script are both delightful. I recommend this movie to anyone who wants to escape from reality, even if only for a short period of time. When ever I play this film, I can almost imagine being in Italy with the smell of flowers and feel the sunshine. Four stars****
How sweet all things would seem
Were we in that kind land to live together,
And there love slow and long,
There love and die among
Those scenes that image you, that sumptuous weather."
Based on the novel by Elizabeth Von Arnim, "Enachanted April" can be described in one sentence it takes place in the early 1920s when four London women, four strangers decide to rent a castle in Italy for the month of April. It is the correct description but it will not prepare you for the fact that "Enchanted April" - an ultimate "feel good" movie is perfection of its genre. Lovely and sunny, tender and peaceful, kind and magical, it is like a ray of sun on your face during springtime when you want to close your eyes and smile and stop this moment of serene happiness and cherish it forever. This is the movie that actually affected my life. I watched it during the difficult times when I was lost, unhappy and very lonely, when I had to deal with the sad and tragic events and to come to terms with some unflattering truth about myself. It helped me to regain my optimism and hope that anything could be changed and anything is possible. I had promised to myself then that no matter what, I would pull myself out of misery and self-pity and I would appreciate every minute of life - with its joy and its sadness...I promised myself that I would go to Italy and later that year I did and I was not alone.
Charming, enchanting, and heartwarming, "Enchanted April" is one of the best movies ever made and my eternal love. This little film is a diamond of highest quality.
Seeing "Enchanted April" is a very healing experience. The sound track and gorgeous scenery, along with the ladies' gentle manners, bring to mind the peace and beauty of a pre-Raphaelite painting.
Lest anyone think yours truly only watches one kind of movie, I will paraphrase a line I heard once on "Saturday Night Live" and say that my two favorite movies are "The Deer Hunter" and "Enchanted April".
All their problems and their solutions are plausible. The actresses were great. The background music seemed very appropriate for an romantic Italian locale. All in all, a 10/10 movie for me.
By taking the time to look beyond the surface, you will find treasures in everyday life, from the least expected sources. All it takes is patience and a touch of enchantment.
The names of the actresses and actors are not at the top of the American Star list. However, they give equal or better performances than the top of the list.
It is such a pleasure to see a movie about true love, romance, friendship without having to endure watching someone having to kick-box their way to save the world.
If you don't like this movie then you have no heart or feelings. Then go watch a sports movie. There is no killing or horror here. See the movie. It is a must. TH
The cast are also fantasic..... a great selection of the finest British talent around. I loved them all for every diverse element brought into the film.
Italy has to be one of the most romantic places to form a story such as this, - everything about this film works.
I love it :)
Lotty (Josie Lawrence) discovers an ad in the newspaper announcing an Italian castle available to let for the month of April. She implores her neighbor, Rose (Miranda Richardson), to invest in the trip so that together they might find happiness. Lawrence and Richardson beautifully portray compliant wives who are defined by their husbands, homes and obligations. Their body language and speech are so repressed at the beginning of the film. I found myself thinking that one or both of them will crack if they do not find peace.
To defray the cost of the trip, Lotty and Rose invite two other women to share in the villa rental, an elderly matron (Joan Plowright) and a titled socialite (Polly Walker). Interestingly, both Mrs. Fisher and Lady Caroline are very fragile, lonely women who have known great loss and mask their pain with cold exteriors. One is trapped by her past while the other is trapped by her beauty. Plowright shines as the brusque outer layers peel away and we discover her heart.
While each actress portrays a traditional female stereotype (Lawrence the daft, eager to please wife, Richardson the puritan, Plowright the hardened dowager, Walker the used up party girl), it does not detract and in fact, includes the viewer as we see something of them in us and vice versa.
For me, the essence of the film occurs when Lotty befriends Mrs. Fisher in a poignant scene. It characterizes the hope that all the women had when they embarked on their journeys. To love and be loved. To be happy with self. To be enchanted by life.
This a movie where every part works from script, directing, editing, photography, locations and acting. All of this gives the viewer the need to get out of town, go to a beautiful place and find that once you are there away from your worries, your life often times comes together. As I said it is so simple but trying to describe it is like talking about a painting by Van Gogh. The film simply works. It has charm. The characters are loving and human. And the atmosphere is beautiful and yes enchanting.
Seeing Enchanted April was not only restful. But afterwards I was in fact thinking of somehow, someway to get the time and the tickets to go to Italy and "find myself" in some beautiful place. If that sound great, check out this movie.
By that measure, Enchanted April is a resounding success. As a film in general, it succeeds quite well-excellent ensemble cast, well-developed characters you come to care about, wonderful script and beautiful sets and locations. In short the film is, well, enchanting. Although all the performances are first-rate, three must be mentioned-Josie Lawrence, Jim Broadbent and Joan Plowright. It says something when Miranda Richardson does her usual fine work and yet is overshadowed by so many others in the cast. Most highly recommended, particularly if you are a romantic at heart. Further Deponent Saith Not.
The casting is perfect, the mood is perfect, the acting is above reproach. It is a film about middle age and the choices people make.It is deep and thoughtful without beating the viewer up with heavy handedness. Watch it in one sitting and let it have its effect on you. If you don't get it, perhaps you haven't lived enough, or something else is wrong with you.
---where there is still sadness and many young widows and disabled vets from the great slaughter of men and killer of their womens' dreams--- known now as World War I...
Four women share this lovely small sunny Italian castle on a hill; one a young widow who is drowning her sorrow in frantic partying, two women who will rediscover their own husbands, and a fourth woman who is tired of her famous dead friends...
...These four women will come together with two husbands and a former soldier - almost blind - to get a spiritual "makeover" for one great April vacation in early 1920's Italy.
NOTE to would-be filmmakers. Study this film for how mood and beauty can tell a story. (Probably not a film to please many men...)
NOTE: Stock up on coffee & hot chocolate and invite the girls over on some dreary late winter day...Spring is coming...Enchanted April promises you!