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RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes
One month in Italy with nothing to do.
Josie Lawrence, Miranda Richardson, Alfred Molina, Neville Phillips and Jim Broadbent
Mike Newell just wanted to adapt the classic Brit chick lit novel Enchanted April into a drama for the BBC. But, he was lacking funds to complete the project. So, Miramax stepped in and helped out. They won the American distribution rights and helped to turn the film into a mini-sensation. Thrill to the exciting adventures of four women lounging around and talking.
British Cinema is already a hard sell for Americans. British Chick Cinema about mellow ladies finding themselves at the start of the 20th Century isn’t eye-catching. Hell, the sheer description is enough to put people to sleep. What Mike Newell was able to do with this film is find the beauty in the pastoral fantasy. Everybody longs for a simple kind of life.
film’s heart is with Lottie Wilkins, as she desperately wants to escape the droll nature of England. Lottie and her friend Rose agree to leave their home and set out for Italy. When they arrive at their Italian vacation villa, they find that Italy gets buckets of rain too. They’re depressed for a day and then they see some sun.
Joan Plowright’s performance is the stuff of legend. Mainly, she’s the only one that speaks complete lines of dialogue and doesn’t mope around during every change of scenery. Plowright’s Mrs. Fisher is a lady that met the poets and other artists of the known world. But, that’s in the past. Now, she just laments what has passed her by in the present. All the while, she’s got to entertain these other women who are depressed by simple existence.
What hurts the film for me is the lack of any resolution. Nobody finds a better station in life. No single woman makes a decision to change their lives in England. It’s just a giant pile of lamentation and whining until somebody finally yells cut. That might be stimulating for some of you, but it gets irritating.
on DVD with a workable transfer. The film’s source materials weren’t that hot and were never meant to show off tremendous range. It was originally shot for television and the quiet drama never really pushes out of that box. The Dolby track is clean and crisp with not a single word of dialogue being dropped. You can finally retire your VHS copies.
Everybody smile, it’s almost over.
material presented on the disc is rather dry. You get a commentary with director Mike Newell. It’s mostly spent explaining away why it took so long to get the film on DVD. The film was shot on 16mm and the transfer process for any home video distribution had proved unfruitful until now. Hell, I’m just amazed that it has arrived looking as good as it had. Still, I would’ve appreciated a featurette or two.