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1992's ENCHANTED APRIL


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I know, I am a day - more - late and a dollar short, but I would love to discuss this film with anyone, as nobody I know IRL has seen it. I did watch Sunday and it was about the 5th time seeing it - but the FIRST time without interruptions, or dozing off , missing the first 10 minutes - stuff like that! But nowI think this has just got to totally top my list of what I think of as "Feel-Good Movies'.

 

Now this, from someone who pretty much ONLY watches (films) in the horror, noir/crime/mystery. gangster, suspense genres. - and who NEVER, EVER (unless strongly coaxed) watches much else - unless it icomes HIGHLY reccommended. It is likely I may not have watched it at all, were it not for the fact of it being a period film, taking place in Europe.

 

So. any *Enchanted April* Fans and/or Officienados.out there? I understand that it is a remake.

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TCM's copy is difficult for me to hear properly. Everyone mumbles. The sound gets too loud during some of the music, and too quiet during the soft words and whispering.

 

But this last time, I sat here and turned the volume up and down as I watched the movie.

 

Seems that the plot is this: At the beginning of the film, a lot of people are unhappy, grumpy, mad, rude, and bossy.

 

By the end of the film, after the month at the Villa, everyone is kind and happy.

 

The photography in the garden scenes were beautiful. Seems that the Villa, garden, and overall location of the Villa is what makes people happy. I need to go to this place a few times a year. :)

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Hey there, Fred! Yes, I believe we ALL need an enchanted April, I know I do. I thought it interesting that one person seemed to know what would happen all along - miles ahead of the rest, who didn't seem to know it until they were plainly ensconsed in the 'magic' of San Salvatore. I admit, I fell hard for Josie Lawrence's character's faith in something 'out there' and 'other than' (but actually 'within'), and I do believe even the most hard-boiled curmudgeon will leak a small smile when Miss Plowright's "stick" blooms - as each of the characters had.done, as well.

 

I must admit to a schoolgirl-type crush on Michael Kitchen. My all-too-girly comment is that his self-concious over-squinting was entirely adorable, and inspired in me that irresistable mix of wanting to kiss him beside the night-blooming jasmine one moment, and feed him oatmeal, the next. Yes, he brings out my inner Madonna-Femme Fatale!, for certain.;)

 

Alfred Molina, we know NOW, is an incredibly versatile artist who can morph across periods, ages, accents and of course, characterizations more agiley and perfectly than any actor of his or any other generation, I do believe. I could find no trace of the manly and quietly attractive 'Perez' (The Perez Family) in this pompous snob, who until San Salvatore adjusted his vison, viewed his meek wife as a dubious "asset" - and only periodically, at that. Molina is one of the few actors that I LOVE. - and it is a short list, I'm afraid.

 

All of the women were wonderful, just so very good, I thought. Josie Lawrence IS the star, and her Lottie is simple, sweet and infused with hope and joy and a kind of 'certain faith', long before those things seem possible to her companions. She is the light which guides, and all follow - whether or not they realize it. Joan Plowright has two of the very best one-liners in the film, as in her first scene when she apprises Lottie and Rose of the manner in which she longs to spend her month in Italy - which is thinking "of better times - and better men". She surprises and delights when she intones - and at the dinner table, no less! - that she has always viewed husbands " as the only real obstacle to sin". Miranda Richardson is quite lovely as the "disapointed Madonna", who finally, influenced by the scents and sights of this adventure, dares to indulge herself in the hope that her marriage isn't completely unredeemable. But it is Polly Draper, as Lady Caroline Dester (Dest-a?) the rich and beautiful flapper, who is incandescent as a much fawned over socialite, who desires only to be finally away from all of the fawners and "grabbers" and to spend her idyllic holiday in the company of strangers. I think Draper hits it exactly right, and she is wonderful as she gradually shows us the young girl who actually longs for love and connection beneath her bored, cooly distant veneer.She really is just plain luminous.

 

'Cautious Pollyanna' that I am, I love this film completely. It is one of those movies I will watch - probably each April - because I just really want to "go and BE THERE". Its the best I can do. But being temprarily enchanted is better than not being enchanted ever, at all.

 

Anyone agree? Disagree?

 

PS I read the thread about the film's sound issues. I guess I just didn't notice, perhaps because we have an older TV, and the volume is just not that sensitive?

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Pia, what a lovely tribute to a lovely movie.

 

I really don't have much to add. I'll agree with you about Molina. I think I may have seen him in *Not Without My Daughter* and that movie where he plays playwright Joe Orton's lover (the name escapes me at the moment--costars Gary Oldman) before I actually saw this film, and I was surprised at his versatility. Have you seen *Boogie Nights* ? He's a total maniac in that one. He's also a very funny man. I've seen him a couple of times on Craig Ferguson's talk show and he's a riot.

 

In fact, all the performances in this film are really good. I remember the first time I saw it being really impressed with Miranda Richardson.

 

I'm with Mr. Dobbs, though. Seeing this film makes you wish you could spend a month at a lovely villa by the sea.

 

Message was edited by: helenbaby

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Thank you, Helen, I know - when do we leave?! We'd better start packing - April is just around the corner!:)

 

Thanks also for reminding me about that Oldman/Molina film about the relationship of Joe Orten and Kenneth Halliwell, 1986's *Prick Up Your Ears*. Both Oldman and Molina were wonderful in that, although I saw it so long ago, I don't remember much about it. BTW, Oldman is ANOTHER crazy- vesatile actor - did you ever see *Hannibal", I think it is - the one with Anthony Hopkins and Julianne Moore as Clarice Starling? Oldman plays one of the most disturbed serial killer characters ever memorialized in film, even giving Lector a run for his money. I'll never be able to look at a wild boar ever again!

 

I am certainly not up on all the most recvent films, but I've not been aware of Miranda Richardson being in much lately. I'll have to check out her IMDb page, because you're right, she IS a wonderful performer. In fact, ALL those Brits are pretty amazing, come to that.

 

Pia

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*All of the women were wonderful, just so very good, I thought. Josie Lawrence IS the star, and her Lottie is simple, sweet and infused with hope and joy and a kind of 'certain faith', long before those things seem possible to her companions. She is the light which guides, and all follow - whether or not they realize it. Joan Plowright has two of the very best one-liners in the film*

 

?and in addition to your quotes, Mrs Fisher gets to say, ??and I didn?t know Chaucer or Shakespeare either!? when Lottie asks, ?Did you know Keats?" And a minute later when Lottie confusedly says that she thought she saw Keats walking across the street, Mrs Fisher looks at her through her lorgnette as if she, Lottie, were from another planet and then walks over to a bust of her late husband. saying that she hopes that she doesn?t see her dead husband walking across the street while banging the bust over the head with her cane. I think the women get most of the laughs in this movie. And when poor Rose is labeled a ?depressed Madonna? by Frederick, I kept wanting her to tell him why. (That George Briggs, i.e., Michael Kitchen, likens her to a Madonna as well is one of the wink-wink jokes of the movie, yet it?s true that she actually does look like one. Poor Rose.) I?m convinced that Menersh has changed by film?s end but I?m not so sure that Frederick has, and I agree with a poster on another thread who pointed out that Rose might have deserved better in this story. How much time will pass before she hears that fake trumpet out of the corner of his mouth and snide remarks like, ?If God know so much, why doesn?t he do something,? (which isn?t a bad line when you think about it.) I also wonder about Caroline and Mr Briggs. Do they seem a good match? (I give them less than six months ;) ) That was cute having her prevent him from stumbling down the side of a hill and saying, ?I had to grab you,? when being grabbed was the bane of her life. But how long will it take for her to get tired of her myopic friend and once again want to be noticed and even, god forbid, maybe even grabbed once in awhile. These speculations are beyond the purview of the film, and maybe it's not so nice to be so cynical about such a feel-good movie?but on the other hand, maybe I'm having a few credibility problems with some of these match ups. ;)

 

But I liked this movie and I thought it was beautifully directed, especially the first third of the film, up until the time Lottie and Rose arrive at the villa. The opening scenes unfold seamlessly and you?re right, Josie Lawrence, is nothing less than wonderful. Of course, so was everyone else for that matter, this is a great cast. The movie goes into a minor downspin for me as it reaches conclusion but it manages to avoid the super sappy treatment that it surely would have had were it an American movie.

 

Pia, I liked the remarks you made and you really nailed down the characters in the film. And so beautifully expressed...

 

/

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Pia- what a great write-up of a great movie! I agree one hundred percent with what you wrote.

 

And I thought I was the only one with a crush on Michael Kitchen! He brings out the mother in me, like you say. At the same time, like Cyd Charisse in Singing in the Rain, I want to take his glasses and toy with him a bit. :)

 

Fred - the only thing I disagree with you about is how many times a year I would need to go to that villa......

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