Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Enchanted April: A Review of a Darling Movie

I watched a movie that made me want to go to Italy. Not that such a long was non-existent previously, but it was a vague, hopeless wish, too meek even to be worded into a prayer. Then I watched Enchanted April. And I wanted Italy. Now. A movie about four different women who, sick of life (I hear ya sisters), decide to cast elegant restraint to the winds and rent a castle in Italy complete with servants and sublime scenery. That sentence really sums up why I love this understated, gem of a movie so. A trip to sunny Italia? All it needs is two magic words.

Wisteria and Sunshine.

Sweet and timid Lottie Wilkins, afraid of her overbearing husband, and generally having the air of a mouse apologetic for eating its own cheese, is captivated by those words. In a sudden action that hints of an exuberant personality near crushed by fear, she seizes Rose Arbuthnot, an acquaintance from church, and begs her to agree to rent an Italian castle ( with wisteria and sunshine) for one whole month. Sensing Rose's unhappiness, she proposes the daring idea of leaving their husbands (gasp) for a month (phew) and just enjoy being in Italy by themselves to rest and relax. Rose at first is reluctant, but she is inwardly tortured by the reality of a husband who writes racy novels with appropriately lewd titles, and at last she agrees. Lottie's natural exuberance is overshadowed by her husband Mellersh Wilkins, who cares more about money than his wife's needs, and is at first furious when she tells him of the plan. Trembling, but resolute, she tells him she still means to go to Italy anyway. She needs a break.

Enter the other two ladies of the quartet. The first is stern, proud Mrs. Fisher, a widow who has had the fortune of knowing several literary personnages when growing up. Lottie, thrilled into bumbling admiration by her eagle eyes and famous (dead) connections blurts out, " Did you know Keats too? Haha.

The fourth and final woman of the quartet is Lady Caroline Dester, a cool and ultra-fashionable twenty-something, who says she wants to get away from the men pestering her. Wow, a reason I almost wish I had!

Before we can get any further, I must say...


This is a movie with no explosions, hot chicks or huge cars. A gun cannot be smelt anywhere near it. There are no histrionics, no cat fights.

If such things constitute entertainment for you, then reading this review will be a complete and utter waste of time. However,

If you enjoy scene after scene of lush Italian views, enjoy seeing characters grow and transform under the golden sunshine, then this movie is intended specially for you.

I don't want to give the story away, but suffice to say, it does what very few movies do: it gets it. I find many movies depressing because they are so dark and filled with "tormented" characters who never actually do anything to get themselves out of torment.

Enchanted April is wonderful because we see the characters change inwardly as they feel love and joy surround them, and they cannot keep this love to themselves, oh no! The love spreads and surrounds everyone, even the viewer.

This movie relaxes my body and my heart. I think it's going to go into my stash labelled " Movies I watch on a Periodical Basis" because it deserves to be there. It's a sweet shining gem of a movie that will make you wish that there were more of these in the bleak universe of films today.

The film is based on the eponymous book by Elizabeth Von Arnim which can be downloaded for free from Girlebooks. I've read the first few pages so far, and I must say the movie seems to stick to the story remarkable well. :) 


  1. What a beautiful escape! Thank you for writing about it. I'll certainly look for this film.

  2. Ooooh, yes, yes, yes!! I ADORE this film! It's one of my favourite movies of all time. You're right, it's an absolute gem of a film. I need to write a post about it on my blog sometime!

    And the book is lovely, too, if you get a chance to finish it. : )

  3. @ Kindred Spirit: This film is so amazing because I actually felt physically relaxed while watching it. Whenever I want to go to Italy, I shall reach for this dvd :)

    @ Elise: This movie has definitely caught my heart: hook, line and sinker. I cannot sing its praises enough. A truly feel-good movie in every sense of the word. :)

  4. Where do you find these movies? :) I checked out your foreign films and really want to watch Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, but I suppose there's no place on-line I could watch it?

  5. @ Katherine Sophia,
    I've discovered that really good films are usually period dramas and foreign films that haven't caught onto the mindlessness of Hollywood yet. I can email you the link of where to safely watch Enchanted April online ( I think you'll really love this movie), but DDLJ is hard to find online because the production house is pretty zealous in ferreting out all illegal copies. I got the dvd from my public library. You might want to check out your public library and see if they have the dvd too. Canada has a pretty large Indian population, and DDLJ is as famous in India as Titanic is in America, so it wasn't hard to find here.
    If your library doesn't have one, I'll see what I can do. Perhaps a copy is lying somewhere hidden online :)


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