23 October 2016

Enchanted April (starring Josie Lawrence and Miranda Richardson)

I’m not entirely sure why this DVD was recommended to me. I’m not sure I knew of any of the cast, but Amazon seemed to think I would like it, and the blurb sounded good. So it went on my wishlist, and I was given it for my birthday… two and a half years ago.

‘Enchanted April’ has been in our to-be-watched DVD drawer all that time, but we finally decided to watch it last night. Apparently it’s based on a 1920s novel, and it felt rather that way; having watched the film, I suspect that it’s probably not a novel I would have enjoyed.

The main characters are Lottie (Josie Lawrence) and Rose (Miranda Richardson). Both are young married women, neither of whom is entirely happy in her life or marriage. Rose’s husband is a novelist who spends most of his time out, without her, and Lottie’s husband is an uptight lawyer who makes her account for every penny. Lottie happens to spot an advert for a holiday in a castle in Italy, and persuades Rose to go with her…

They advertise for further companions, and are joined by the elderly Mrs Fisher (Joan Plowright) and the spoilt, beautiful Lady Caroline (Polly Walker). When they arrive, the peaceful, attractive environment of the castle and its grounds works a kind of magic on all of them, in different ways…

And that’s it, really. The scenery is stunning, the acting excellent. I particularly liked Mrs Fisher’s excellent timing and gradual transformation.

However I found Lottie a bit overwhelming at times, as she can’t seem to stop talking; I really disliked her husband. And it was all rather slow-moving. I didn’t dislike it; indeed, the conclusion of the story, such as it is, is encouraging and satisfying.

But it didn’t grab either of us, and I found myself glancing at the clock in the last half hour, rather than absorbed in the film. It’s not as if it’s over-long, either; it’s only just over an hour and a half, but not a great deal happens during that time.

I’m glad we finally watched it, and I did enjoy the scenery and the walks, but it’s not a film I’m likely to want to watch again.

Rated U in the UK, and PG in the slightly more cautious United States. There's no violence or intimacy or indecency, and only the mildest of language, but there are scenes showing both smoking and drinking. However, I can't imagine that this would be of the slightest interest to children.

Review by copyright 2016 Sue's DVD Reviews

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