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Enchanted April (1992)

tomatometer

82

Average Rating: 7/10
Reviews Counted: 28
Fresh: 23 | Rotten: 5

Mike Newell's adaptation of Elizabeth von Arnim's moves at a more generous pace than the 1935 version, allowing excellent performances from Miranda Richardson and Joan Plowright to flourish.

75

Average Rating: 7.7/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 2

Mike Newell's adaptation of Elizabeth von Arnim's moves at a more generous pace than the 1935 version, allowing excellent performances from Miranda Richardson and Joan Plowright to flourish.

audience

84

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 7,478

My Rating

Movie Info

Previously filmed in 1935 with Ann Harding, Enchanted April, a romantic novel by Elizabeth, was remade in 1992. The first film skips along superficially at 66 minutes: the second, directed by the always intriguing Mike Newell, runs 101 minutes, allowing for richer characterizations and a bottomless reserve of brilliant dialogue. Two cloistered, married English women (Josie Lawrence, Miranda Richardson) impulsively rent an Italian villa and embark upon a vacation without their spouses. They are

PG,

Drama, Romance, Comedy

May 5, 2009

Miramax

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All Critics (28) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (5) | DVD (4)

In a raucous movie summer, this is a film for those who appreciate wisteria and sunshine, and a recollection of a time when women and movies could be purveyors of enchantment.

May 27, 2011 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Strong cast's reliable playing is undercut by a script that dawdles over well-trod territory.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Personalities clash but are cheerfully reconciled, and marital tensions are swiftly resolved.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The ladies are well bred, the scenery is lovely and the dialogue is polished and polite. It helps that the same villa in Portofino where Miss von Armin wrote the novel has been used to fine effect as the film's principal setting.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Is it fair to ask why usually sophisticated Americans turn to mush over this particular variety of moribund ersatz art?

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Personalities clash but are cheerfully reconciled, and marital tensions are swiftly resolved.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: ReelViews
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The whole thing seems like it was dreamed up during a sleepy afternoon by the Italian seaside, and is guaranteed to put viewers into a similarly soporific state.

May 27, 2011 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

An undeniably pretty but ultimately vacant period drama.

May 27, 2011 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Elegant period film explores deep emotions.

February 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

It reminded me of the introspective but otherwise soft-hitting stories that my mother reads in her monthly book club. It's a rich film, but not the kind of rich that I like.

August 16, 2009 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

Thematically, Mike Newell's film is similar to A Room With a View, focusing on the liberating impact of an Italian vacation on repressed, downtrodden Brit femmes, well acted by Joan Plowright, Miranda Richardson and Polly Walker.

July 17, 2009 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

One can't help but start planning a vacation immediately after the film ends

May 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

Like April weather most places north of the Mediterranean, this one is lukewarm, at best.

May 6, 2009 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

... behind that precious romanticism is a genuine commitment to this emotional renewal.

May 5, 2009 Full Review Source: Parallax View
Parallax View

Exquisite -- it will bloom inside you the way Italy blooms inside the characters.

July 20, 2003
Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies

Beautifully filmed and acted with a pleasant, wry sense of humor about it. Mirand Richardson shows why she is one of our greatest living actresses.

November 27, 2002
Star Newspapers (Chicago, IL)

Pleasant, but awfully thin

October 2, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Shows how a holiday can become a spiritual experience.

August 21, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

The movie's main weakness is the premise that sun, flowers, Mediterranean air and, certainly, castle living, are magical restoratives strong enough to salve all social ills.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

An utter delight.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Audience Reviews for Enchanted April

American sensibilities usually go agog when it comes to English country homes and their varied inhabitants, which is why "Downton Abbey" is an iconoclast by itself. This film falls into the genre of hapless women alone in Italy and their various adventures. The so-called adventures of the women in this film are pathetic, short sighted, and at times disappointing. Two of these women are repressed, and depressed, housewives from the rumbling metropolis of London. They're friends, they both wish their husbands cared more about them, and both need to get away from the horrible, rainy weather. Their husbands include a politician and a ghost writer who goes off to parties and socializes with the toast of the city, at times flirting with infidelity. Both husbands are mercifully repulsive, but instead of the women getting away and eventually leaving them, the film celebrates women changing via a vacation to Italy in order to entice their significant others. The film loses any empathy by sticking to its source material ("The Enchanted April" by Elizabeth Von Armin), and pairs together the last remaining singles into couples at the end, just so it can be tied up in a little bow. Even the so-called enchanted countryside is barely shown except for some shots of wisteria and garden paths. Otherwise most of the film is shot within the confines of the Italian castle, also not all that grand. A film's beatific setting can often enchant when the characters do not, but there isn't even a hint of guilty pleasure surrounding this film. It doesn't have the wit of an Austen adaptation or the dramatic setting and tone of a Merchant/Ivory film. It simply lingers on the most boring elements of dialogue, and on characters that don't do anything. Even the surrounding characters, which include a widow who made friends of the elite in literature, a coaxing socialite, and the castle's owner, can't make this film compelling in any way. If you want to watch a bunch of flighty women fighting to be happy, this is for you, but otherwise it doesn't have merit.
May 28, 2013
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

Four English ladies rent an Italian villa.
The biggest surprise about Enchanted April is that it's not a Merchant/Ivory production. It has all the trappings of such a film with it's understated, often-quotidian conflicts and its focus on setting to provide thematic mood. It's A Room with a View. While I liked A Room with a View, I recognized that the quotidian conflicts don't always provide the matter for compelling drama; the same is true for Enchanted April.
The performances by all the actresses are strong, but I was particularly "enchanted" by Polly Walker as the free-spirited Lady Caroline.
Overall, if you like Merchant/Ivory's films, then you'll like this film because the differences between these films is negligible.
The performances by all the actresses are
October 2, 2012
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

A period 'romantic comedy' with an amazing ensemble cast.
Funny, romantic and a little magical.
THe Italian countryside is GORGEOUS!
March 21, 2008
RCCLBC
Robert C

Super Reviewer

charming
April 19, 2007
jjnxn
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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