A slim comedy of manners about Brits discovering their emotions in sunny Italy, Enchanted April doesn’t spring many surprises. Strong cast’s reliable playing is undercut by a script that dawdles over well-trod territory. Pic derives from British pubcaster BBC’s Screen Two series.
Story centers on four women who rent a medieval dwelling in San Salvatore, Italy. For two of them (Miranda Richardson, Josie Lawrence), it’s an excuse to get away from inattentive hubbies. Also on board are a waspish widow (Joan Plowright) and a society belle (Polly Walker).
Lawrence decides to invite her husband (Alfred Molina) over, and Richardson eventually fires off a letter to hers as well. Meanwhile, the house’s British owner (Michael Kitchen), who’d already taken a shine to Richardson in Blighty, turns up one day.
Dialog-heavy script [from Elizabeth von Arnim’s novel] is well turned but lacking in real conflict or development. All the actors give it their best shot, with Plowright spitting out bons mots with her usual aplomb and Molina brightening things up. Of the younger women, Walker is tops as the cool society vamp. Mike Newell’s helming gets everything in the frame but rarely delivers more.
1992: Nominations: Best Supp. Actress (Joan Plowright), Screenplay Adaptation, Costume Design