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Charms for the Easy Life (2002)

The story of three women who live in a North Carolina town and defy the traditional roles set forth for them by society.


Kaye Gibbons (novel), Angela Shelton (teleplay)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gena Rowlands ... Charlie Kate Birch
Mimi Rogers ... Sophia
Susan May Pratt ... Margaret
Geordie Johnson Geordie Johnson ... Richard Baines
Kenneth Mitchell ... Tom Hawkings III (as Ken Mitchell)
Wayne Robson ... Doctor
Kayla Perlmutter Kayla Perlmutter ... Margaret (child)
Kirsten Kieferle ... Charlie Kate (1909)
Cristine Rotenberg Cristine Rotenberg ... Sophia (1909)
Sylvie Weir Sylvie Weir ... People
Phil Cook Phil Cook ... People
Ken Gorin Ken Gorin ... People
Judy White Judy White ... Louise
Karl Wanhala Karl Wanhala ... People
David Macniven ... Sophia's Husband


The story of three women who live in a North Carolina town and defy the traditional roles set forth for them by society.

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Canada | USA



Release Date:

18 August 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A könnyű élet varázsa See more »

Filming Locations:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Did You Know?


When Margaret is making tea for her grandmother we can hear the tea kettle whistle. But when she pours water from the kettle into a teapot, there's clearly no whistle on the nozzle. See more »

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User Reviews

Lovely adaptation of a fabulous novel
28 February 2007 | by flamingo1706See all my reviews

No offense to anyone who reads this, but I sometimes wonder if it helps to be from the South when viewing films adapted from Southern writers. I thought this was a lovely film -- faithful to the novel as possible. Gena Rowlands is stunning as Charlie Kate. Less strident than in the novel, but flamingly over-the-top characters like Charlie Kate, in my opinion, can easily come off overdone in film, whereas on the written page or even on the stage they are in their glory. These women were stereotypes and predictable as are many characters in Southern literature, that is if you are familiar with the "categories" into which Southerners, especially women, are divided -- especially by Southerners. Mimi Rogers was wonderful as Sophia, a woman bound by the "rules" of Southern society (in spite of or perhaps because of her unorthodox mother and upbringing). But at the same time Sophia is equally entranced by the words of John Steinbeck as she is by a new hat and Rogers portrays this very real duality beautifully. Susan Mae Pratt, an overlooked young actress, was perfect as Margaret, another Southern stereotype, well-mannered and proper, but not slavish like her mother, with a highly developed intellect like both of the women who raised her, confident in many things, but shy in others -- such as leaving home and with men, from whom she has been relatively isolated. I find her "we just knew" relationship with Tom completely believable and his Christmas gift to Margaret of "all his teasures" is truly one of the most romantic gestures in literature. I begin to ramble -- But as one reviewer commented, some of the funniest bits may be missed as well as some of the traditional bits that flavor the film. Unless you know that if the Bible Belt had saints, Margaret Mitchell and in turn David O. Selznick would be two of them, thus the incredible shock value of Charlie Kate's dislike of "Gone With the Wind." And unless you know the reverence held for Douglas Southall Freeman and his voluminous works on Robert E. Lee, thus Charlie Kate's immediate softening and acceptance of Richard upon his perfect Christmas gift. And unless you know that Southern women smoked, a lot, just NEVER on the street and unless you realize that only life and death could make even Charlie Kate leave the house without her hat, well..... It is impossible to include the detail and background necessary to catch all the nuances of the novel in movie form, so it may fall a little flat for you. Personally, I've made myself want to watch it again! Garlic toast anyone?

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