Sunday, February 13, 2011

"Oh, Lotty, we must be friends forever and forever."*

When first I went away to college, I didn't really have any homesickness. Everything was too new and exciting, and I loved the experience of being on my own and responsible for myself. Going back to school for the second semester of my freshman year after the Christmas break was another story. I was terribly homesick and really quite lonely and depressed. The horrible winter weather we had didn't help, nor did the fact that my roommate had transferred to Brown and the person who I thought was going to be my new roommate transferred to Hampshire. I felt isolated and somewhat abandoned; things were looking quite bleak.

On Wednesday afternoons and evenings my college would show second run art films, and one of those Wednesdays that was particularly bleak, I ended up going to see a British film on my own. The film was Enchanted April, and I didn't really know anything definite about it except that it was British. (That was okay with me; I went into Howards End with the exact same attitude.)

The story follows four very different English women in post-WWI Britain, each of whom is unhappy with life for her own reason. They come together to rent a castle in Italy, which has a healing effect on each of them. The film is wonderfully acted, starring Josie Lawrence, Miranda Richardson, Polly Walker, and the wonderful Joan Plowright. (Richardson and Plowright each received Golden Globes for their roles, and Plowright also received an Oscar nod.) The contrast between bleak, rainy London and beautiful, sunny Italy is like going from black and white Kansas to Technicolor Oz. The locations in Italy are stunning, while the score by Richard Rodney Bennett is lush, magical, and yearning.

As I said, Italy has a transforming and healing effect on the characters in the film. But what I wasn't counting on was the rejuvenating effect that this film had on me. I left that theater with a light heart and a willingness to re-embrace my life at school. This film was a life saver and a life changer for me. For years, I would watch my VHS copy of this film whenever I was having a hard time and refused to give up my VCR rather than lose the ability to watch it. Fortunately, Enchanted April was finally released on DVD last year. I watched the dvd this weekend, and, once again, it filled me with happiness and love.

This is one of my favorite exchanges. It happens near the end of the film.
Lotty surprises Mrs. Fisher with a kiss on the cheek.
Mrs. Fisher: Thank you, my dear. I was feeling a little melancholy. Where are the others?
Mellersh Wilkins: They all seem to have paired off, Mrs. Fisher.
Mrs. Fisher: It does seem that people can only be happy in pairs. All sorts of pairs.
Lotty Wilkins: Then you and I will be a pair, Mrs. Fisher. We're going to be very good friends.
Mrs. Fisher: I hope so, Lotty.
Lotty: Oh, I see it.
Mrs. Fisher: Then we will be.

*Lady Caroline Dester, Enchanted April

1 comment:

  1. I loved that movie! There's nothing like a good British movie, is there? I have three friends I get together with quarterly for that very thing. The husband of one named us the Limey Lunch Ladies. Though it's much more than lunch. We start at 10 in the morning and wind up about 6 in the evening. A full day of eating and watching "Limey" movies. Fabulously restorative!



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