Enchanted April

1991, Comedy/Romance, 1h 33m

32 Reviews 5,000+ Ratings

What to know

critics consensus

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. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

When married British women Rose Arbuthnot (Miranda Richardson) and Lottie Wilkins (Josie Lawrence) decide to take a break from their respective spouses, they stay at a castle in Italy for a quiet holiday. Joining the ladies is Caroline Dester (Polly Walker), a young socialite, and Mrs. Fisher (Joan Plowright), an older aristocrat. Liberated from their daily routines, the four women ease into life in rural Italy, and each finds herself transformed by the experience.

Cast & Crew

Miranda Richardson
Rose Arbuthnot
Alfred Molina
Mellersh Wilkins
Josie Lawrence
Lottie Wilkins
Polly Walker
Caroline Dester
Michael Kitchen
George Briggs
Jim Broadbent
Frederick Arbuthnot
Simon Relph
Executive Producer
Mark Shivas
Executive Producer
Ann Scott
Producer
Rex Maidment
Cinematography
Malcolm Thornton
Production Design
Sheena Napier
Costume Design
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Critic Reviews for Enchanted April

Audience Reviews for Enchanted April

  • Apr 30, 2022
    The best thing here is how the movie completely understands the fantasy of renting an Italian villa to escape and reset one's life. The ending is a little silly but the cast sells the hell out of it.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 12, 2013
    I'm not one for the period pieces but I am willing to make an exception for this one. Same old, same old in terms of a story line. Brits abroad in a foreign land but these pairings work and there is gorgeous interplay.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 02, 2012
    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
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Mar 07, 2012
    The Enchanted April is quirky, full of humour, of misunderstandings, of instances of characters miscommunicating and misjudging one another's intentions. Yet it's also charming and sweet which candidly explores, albeit somewhat lightheartedly, the heartache four women are nursing caused by aging, marital neglect, and the like. Based on the 1921 novel by Elizabeth von Armin, the film centers on Lottie Wilkins (Josie Lawrence), a shabby middle-class wife, blessed with a self-proclaimed magical ability to see into people. When her eyes catch a newspaper ad for a month in an Italian villa, she immediately thinks of her downtrodden neighbor Rose Arbuthnot (Miranda Richardson). To save money, two other eccentric femmes join this couple: the haughty widow Mrs. Fisher (Joan Plowright) and the alluring society lady, Caroline Dester (Polly Walker), who is the opposite of all the others. When they wake up in their villa after a rainy nighttime arrival (Britain still seems to follow them like a cloud), they open their windows to a sunny spring morning on the Italian coast, the hills exploding in flowers and foliage, the Mediterranean waters a captivating azure catching the sun with white accents. It's a fairy tale awakening for them in every way. "It's this place," says Lawrence's newly recharged character. Then the film slips into internal monologues to tell us about the transformations the characters are going through and they seem so unnecessary so much of the time, mostly because the observations are already so apparent to the eye. And when the husbands arrive, the old romances are recharged and relationships rekindled with newfound respect and affection, if not for the commitment and compassion and generosity of Mike Newell's direction. It's not about escape or rebirth, it's about renewal and appreciation, with all the restraint we've come to expect in the oh-so-British manner of period movies, but behind that precious romanticism is a genuine commitment to this emotional renewal. This is an earnest movie about personality transformation, self-renewal and life lessons about female camaraderie.
    Cinema F Super Reviewer

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