‘To those who appreciate Wisteria and Sunshine’

9 Apr

After a long winter, the sun is finally shining.  The air is buzzing with busy insects and dandelion fuzz.  The wind whips my wet clothes dry while I open the windows, get back under the down covers and turn on Enchanted April.  Bliss.

Two strangers connect over an ad to rent a castle on the Mediterranean coast of Italy amid a miserable London winter and their even more miserable lives.  They advertise for two other women to share the castle and expense, and the four strangers go away in an effort to escape it all: living with someone who doesn’t love you, loss, and facing the final years of life.  But the “wisteria and sunshine” prevents their escape by proving to them that hope still exists and love makes the impossible possible. 

Each of the characters is like the oleander tree story told in the film — they all begin as dead walking sticks but in the end become live, blossoming trees.  Even the men face awakenings of their own.  Amazing how one bath can change your life forever.

Imagine if Lotty had only sat at home dreaming about wisteria and sunshine rather than taking a risk and acting on it.  Her very simple act of courage causes a chain reaction for each of the other characters — as well as creates lasting friendships that remove the isolation each woman brought with her to Italy.  Lotty’s seemingly silly and impetuous risk gives birth to new faith in love and the importance of sharing it with others.

Based on the book by Elizabeth von Arnim, Enchanted April is one of the most perfectly adapted screenplays I’ve ever seen. Peter Barnes’ work is exquisitely faithful to the book, and the filmmakers did a beautiful job of bringing the pages to life on screen in a meaningful way. The cast is stellar…and so is the oboe solo.  What I’d really like to know is how they got the spiders to cooperate with the production design.  It’s understated, it’s beautifully simple, and it will help you find the true meaning of relaxation.

Go get your copy and treat yourself to a spring day in a castle on the seashore of Italy.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Some of my favorite quotes:

“I’m thinking of taking you to Italy for Easter…A second person is always useful in a country whose language one doesn’t speak to look after the luggage while one communicates with the natives.”
“How is this different?” “Well, this is Italian rain.”
“She’s treading on lilies.” “Well, they’re hers as much as ours.” “Only a quarter of them.”
“Have you noticed how difficult it is to be improper when there are no men about?”
“Always a pleasure to meet a friend of my wife’s.  I was just taking a bath.”

2 Responses to “‘To those who appreciate Wisteria and Sunshine’”

  1. Cynthia Pittmann February 3, 2015 at 11:17 am #

    Love the movie! Great review!


  1. Our favorite period dramas: ‘Picture Shows & Petticoats’ ep 8 « In Which I Blog - July 15, 2012

    […] The most faithful adaptation I’ve ever seen.  Except even better because on film you can hear the sound of the oboe.  You can smell the flowers and feel the warm Meditteranean water washing over you.  Almost.  Enchanted April is a lesson in love.  The first few hundred times I watched it I was with Mrs. Arbuthnot on it, “Lottie–I can’t keep up!”  But then one day it clicked.  I finally learned a lot from Lottie about what it is to live in a tub of love.  The film is gentle, graceful, and the perfect thing to watch if you need a slower pace and a little peace in your life.  I’ve gone into greater detail about it before. […]

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