I adore the movie Enchanted April, based on the novel written by Elizabeth von Arnim. Like a bolstering hymn of hope, I need it at intervals. Every February to be exact, the month when winter seems to never let go its grip here in the north. I'd like to borrow the plot line: to be on holiday with Lotty Wilkins and Rose Arbuthnot, to be reset by a month in an Italian villa.
An ad to lease an Italian villa, San Salvatore, on the Mediterranean for the month of April catches the eyes of Lotty and Rose, strangers turned friends, played by Josie Lawrence and Miranda Richardson, and they become frantic to find their way to the wisteria and the sea and the rest. To reduce the expense, they in turn advertise for two more women to join them. Mrs. Fisher and Lady Caroline Dester, played by Joan Ploughright and Polly Walker, answer their ad. Each of the women come for different reasons, but that is the start of a longer essay.
A good friend, her daughter, and I have a standing tradition to watch this movie together at this time every year and last night was the night. I drove to their house in nearly zero-degree weather, and we sat huddled by the fireplace with soup and warm bread, with Italian sparkling wine, and lived a vicarious holiday but a very real reset.
This friend and I saw this story as a live play several years ago, and a reviewer at the time got it completely wrong. He wrote that the story is nothing more than an episode of the old television show, The Love Boat, where everyone is troubled, goes on a trip, and falls back in love at the end. That reviewer didn't understand the power of companionship in solitude, the power of beauty and rest.
[Photo: a shot from the 1992 film.]