Enchanted April (DVD, 2009) Reviews
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Enchanted April (DVD, 2009)

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Enchanted April (1991)

Oct 2, 1999
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:cast, direction, cinematography

Cons:story, ending, characters

What film was made for British television,
but went on to receive three Academy Award
nominations? The answer is "Enchanted April",
a remake of the 1935 film and based upon
the 1923 novel by Elizabeth Von Arnim.

The story has two English housewives
agreeing to rent a villa in Italy for a
month. Lottie (Josie Lawrence) is married
to perfunctory businessman Mellersh (Alfred
Molina). Rose (Miranda Richardson) is
wed to gregarious author Frederick (Jim
Broadbent), who makes his living writing
racy novels under a pseudonym. To be
able to afford their holiday, Lottie and
rose enlist two other renters. Mrs.
Fisher (Joan Plowright) is an elderly,
upper crust snob, while Lady Dester (Polly
Walker) is a wealthy socialite seeking
an escape from her many paramours.

The four women arrive in Italy. Mrs. Fisher
proves difficult, as she insists on rights
to the guest room, and criticizes Dester's
behavior. But everyone present falls
under the spell of the perfect weather, the
peaceful villa, and the picturesque surrounding
countryside. However, a complication arises
when Lottie writes her husband to join her,
and implores Rose to send for her husband.
Unknown to Rose, Frederick has been romancing
Lady Dester for some time.

Technically, there's nothing really wrong
with "Enchanted April". The direction, script,
cast, sets, costumes and cinematography are
all very competent. Certainly the Academy
felt so, bestowing three Oscar nominations.
Plowright was nominated for Best Supporting
Actress, Peter Barnes for Best Adapted Screenplay,
and Sheena Napier for Best Costume Design.
None of the nominations were quite deserved,
perhaps demonstrating anglophile Academy
tendencies, or simply a preference for a
change of pace from action-laden, commercialized
Hollywood films.

The problem that I had with the film was
the character changes. Fisher softens, showing
vulnerability. Her health improves such that
she walks without a cane (literally leaving
behind her crutches). Frederick makes the
prudent decision of romancing his wife, but
his new-found desire for her seems a story
fabrication. The same can be said for Mellersh,
who arrives at the villa to solicit business,
then promptly falls under a romantic spell.
Not to be left out, Lady Dester is courted
as well, by naive villa owner Briggs (Michael
Kitchen). All ends are too conveniently tied,
with the men switching their passions in
harmony with the wishes of the female leads. (55/100)


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A charming tale of four women who find Romance, hope and, ultimately, liberation during a month's holiday in an Italian villa overlooking the sea. Aca...
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