I don’t know when I first ran across this movie on television, but it caught my interest immediately–good actors, gorgeous scenery, period costumes. I have watched it several times since then. Enchanted April, made for British television in 1991 and released theatrically in the U.S. the following year, boasts a talented cast of actors, many of whom were or became favorites of mine.
Based on a novel written in the 1920s by Elizabeth Von Armin and first filmed in 1935, Enchanted April follows the adventures of four English women–an elderly grande dame, a spoiled society girl, and two housewives who feel as if all the romance has gone from their live– who all find themselves longing for escape of one form or another.
One of the women, Lotty, played by Josie Lawrence, decides to rent a villa in Italy for the month of April and invites three other ladies to join her and share in the expenses.
Just as the spring flowers open and blossom beautifully around the Villa San Salvatore, so do we see a blossoming of these four women as they enjoy their stay in this magical place. When their husbands join them, the men find themselves falling under the spell of San Salvatore, too. There is humor and poignancy and the breathtaking scenery of Italy.
The film was actually shot in the same Italian villa that inspired the novelist to write her book, and the filmmakers do a great job capturing the period look and feel. Josie Lawrence, Miranda Richardson, Polly Walker and Joan Plowright are ably joined by Jim Broadbent, Alfred Molina and Michael Kitchen in this charming, slow-paced and truly enchanting story.
Only recently was the film made available on DVD, but it is definitely one I plan to add to my collection.