Film: Enchanted April
Director: Mike Newell
Starring: Josie Lawrence, Miranda Richardson
To say the English winter is austere is perhaps a gross understatement for Lottie Wilkins. A young wife of a family solicitor, Lottie, ironically, has meager means for her daily subsistence. Modern luxuries are an exotic territory she never dares to venture into. Instead, Lottie spends a lot of time alone in a women’s club in Central London, dreaming miserably of an escape from her regimented existence.
And on one dreary rainy February afternoon, Lottie sees a glimmer of hope.
“To those who appreciate wisteria and sunshine. Small medieval Italian castle on the shores of the Mediterranean to be let furnished for the month of April. Necessary servants remain.”
This small print of an unobtrusive advertisement in the Times catches the attention of Lottie, and in a split second, it sets her frozen soul on fire.
But there is one catch.
The expense for a one-month stay in an Italian villa is simply beyond her means.
Then, Lottie realizes her Hampstead neighbour, Mrs. Rose Arbuthnot, the enthusiastic volunteer of charity service, could at least share out the cost. And the duo soon expands to a quartet when the domineering and nostalgic Mrs. Fisher — and the elegant and beautiful upper-class socialite Caroline Dester — join their Mediterranean escapade.
Enchanted April is a personal journey of revival for each of the four women. Each emerges from the month refreshed and rejuvenated. One mends an almost torn relationship, one finds new romance, one discovers a new path in life, and Lottie rekindles a long suppressed affection with a number love one.
Common to all? They find lasting friendship and happiness.
Enchanted April is a beautiful British drama about love and joy. Directed by Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral and Mona Lisa Smile), the 1991 film stars Polly Walker, Miranda Richardson, and Joan Plowright and is based on the namesake 1922 novel by Elizabeth von Arnim.
If a vibrant vista or a medieval castle overseeing the Italian coast is not enough to lure you, the clever dialogue and the subtle acting of the cast will certainly impel you to stay. From. Beginning. To. end.
Rating (one to five whistles, five being the best): Three-and-a-half Whistles
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Lead-in Image Courtesy of Lionsgate