Enchanted April

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Enchanted April Movie Poster Image
Elegant period film explores deep emotions.
  • PG
  • 1992
  • 93 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

A change of scenery can do wonders for the mind and the heart.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The women are more complex than the men in this film, and each is attempting to heal from some emotional ailment and become more in touch with themselves. A man treats his wife as if she’s a servant; another man ignores his wife.

Violence
Sex

A woman is noticed, especially by men, primarily for her physical appearance, and she appears tired of it. A husband and wife reconnect emotionally after a cold spell. A woman enjoys the company of a man who’s not her husband -- a scandalous thing during that time period; then again, her husband appears to be besotted with another woman.

Language

One instance of the word “bloody.”

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this period dramedy explores, albeit somewhat lightheartedly, the heartache four women are nursing caused by aging, marital neglect, and the like. It’s somewhat heavy material for tweens and younger. The journey that the lead characters go on is moving, and there’s plenty of takeaway for viewers old and young. Plus, it’s refreshing to watch a movie that’s not sustained by a heavy soundtrack and gimmicky plots.

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What's the story?

Four women decide to share a castle in the Italian countryside for the month of April in this period dramedy set in the 1920s. Each one nurses a broken heart of sorts: The oldest of them, Mrs. Fisher (Joan Plowright), is sad to have survived so many of her friends and lovers; Rose Arbuthnot (Miranda Richardson) doesn’t feel important to her husband (Jim Broadbent), who’s enamored of a much younger, glamorous woman, Caroline Dester (Polly Walker). She, in turn, is tired of coasting on her beauty and wants to be appreciated for who she is and not what she looks like. Meantime, Lottie Wilkins (Josie Lawrence) wants a substantial relationship with her husband (Alfred Molina), instead of the subservient one she has now.

Is it any good?

Quiet and unassuming, Academy Award-nominated ENCHANTED APRIL nevertheless enthralls without having to rely on cinematic pyrotechnics like other, lesser movies do. No heavy-handed soundtrack to steer emotions, no special effects, not even a hint of melodrama or over-comedy. Instead, it presents, as is, its fundamental suggestion: that a complete change in scenery can reframe one’s thoughts and emotions, sometimes to monumental effect. It’s a simple enough premise, perhaps too simple for some movie-watchers. But there’s no denying its truth. Plot can only go so far, however, and this film is successful for yet another reason -- its cast. The four female leads are spot on -- enchanting, one and all.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the women: What do they all have in common? What made them all want to share the chateau?

  • How are the men characterized in this film? Are they one-dimensional? Is that fair?

  • How is this film different from others about marital discord and female friendships? How is it like them?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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