Movie review by Andrea Karen Hammer
Enchanted April, Artsphoria’s all-time favorite film, holds its power and ability to comfort, even after countless viewings throughout the years. This magical movie is filled with hopeful messages, which are particularly fitting for persevering during our current crisis.
This extraordinary film experience starts with the invitation on some video covers to: “Imagine a month in paradise with nothing to do but everything you ever dreamed of.”
Courage to Escape Water-Logged Lives
Enchanted April opens with Lottie Wilkins (Josie Lawrence) and Rose Arbuthnot (Miranda Richardson) working up the courage to escape their externally and internally water-logged lives in 1920s London. The outwardly severe but inwardly lonely Mrs. Fisher (Joan Plowright) and physically beautiful but emotionally disconnected socialite Caroline Dester (Polly Walker) join them to split the expenses.
Lottie’s penny-pinching lawyer husband, Mellersh (Alfred Molina) and Rose’s philandering author husband, Frederick (Jim Broadbent) eventually show up during unexpected visits, along with the villa owner George Briggs (Michael Kitchen). As they all begin to relax together in this haven, viewers watch each member of the widely disparate group go through a radical transformations.
Lush Gardens Beckon After Nightmarish Arrival
One scene that leaves a lasting imprint shows Lottie and Rose arriving in the Italian Riviera in the middle of a severe rain storm. After an unknown carriage driver scoops up their suitcases and whisks them away to San Salvatore in the middle of the night, they wake up in the morning with slivers of sunlight beckoning them through their bedroom shutters. As they throw them open on adjacent balconies overlooking lush gardens, we can feel the pure joy of Lottie and Rose experiencing this paradise.
Josie Lawrence shapes lovable Lottie as a heart-warming character determined to see the good in people–even prematurely. Miranda Richardson‘s rendition of Rose as the “disappointed madonna” takes a 360 turn when she literally lets her hair down and rests peacefully–even while a salamander walks over her head.
Quirky Characters Stir Emotions Before a Surprising Match-Up
Polly Walker’s mastery of the sometimes dislikable Caroline is most poignant in her moments stretched out on a chaise lounge, “trying to get her feathers right.” Joan Plowright‘s Mrs. Fisher stirs emotions while revealing the depths of her loneliness after relinquishing control of her previously ordered world.
Alfred Molina and Jim Broadbent add their signature quirky touches in scenes showing them eating ravenously and “tooting” a personally expressive “song,” respectively. Michael Kitchen delivers an equally powerful performance as the frequently baffled George Briggs, with his singular gift of sending shadows and deeply pained expressions across his face until he ends up in a surprising–and unexpected–match-up.
Two Hours of Blissful Hope and a Sense of Rejuvenation
When you need to escape into 2 hours of blissful hope and tap into a sense of rejuvenation, Enchanted April is the ticket, which you can absolutely enjoy now!