The only way to have a Women’s Film Club is to show strong women’s films. Enchanted April is one of my favorites. It’s a 1922 book by Elizabeth von Arnim that became a Play that became a Musical that became an idyllic Woman’s Film. To start with, it’s very pretty and we like pretty. It’s focus is four women at crossroads—two are in drowsy marriages, one is a lonely widow tired of just living on memories, and one, a glamorous heiress bored with the artificiality in her life. Can a man enjoy it? Sure, but it’s only fully understood by a woman. For example, can a man fully understand that anyone, for that matter, might like to spend a month with three women she just met, in a villa in Italy basking in the warm Mediterranean sun? Well, when I put it that way . . . maybe, but still not with the same sensitivities.
So when Lottie in rainy London sees an ad for a villa for rent in sunny Italy she knows she has to go. She invites Rose who goes to the same women’s club and they advertise and get Caroline, an elegant upper-class beauty and Mrs. Fisher, a bossy aging widow. By the end of the month, the husbands of Lottie and Rose have arrived, Caroline is enchanted by the villa owner and Mrs. Fisher has new friends.
Favorite Moment: As they leave, Mrs. Fisher sticks her wooden cane down in the dirt and moves forward—not looking back–and we are left to watch the cane burst forth with colorful flora symbolic of new beginnings for all. In other words, it has a ‘happy ever after’ ending that is quite satisfying.
Director: Mike Newell. Cast includes Miranda Richardson, Josie Lawrence, Joan Plowright, Alfred Molina, Michael Kitchen and Jim Broadbent.
Froth: Dame Joan Plowright is also Baroness Olivier, the widow of Sir|Baron Laurence Olivier and is a distinguished English actress in her own right. She retired not long after making this film when she lost her sight from macular degeneration.
Thought to ponder: Why do you think the women invited their husbands on their holiday?