blog description

Old women talk about old things: history, myth, magic and their
checkered pasts, about what changes and what does not.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

"Enchanted April"

April 7th was my 50th birthday. I thought this was great - my name came up on the Crone calendar on the Friday before. So I was going to post something poetic or profound. Or blog about the significant crones in my life (except I'm still kicking and groaning about the term - "crone" and my mind kept going blank about the profound and wise revelations passed down to me by my mother and paternal grandmother. . . Has my mind already gone into decline? Or hadn't they ever really imparted the wisdom of the ages to me . . .?!)

Anyway, I did have a lovely, very low key kind of day. My sister took Juliet and my daughter and I out for lunch. (I was going to say out 'to' lunch and realized we were back to the mind in decline motif . . . Yes it's there, but let's just not make it an issue . . .).

The evening before, my big sis came to my house and we had another fun evening while she baked me a "weird but eatable" cake as I've been on a no wheat, gluten, or sugar diet for a few years now.

So the three of us sat around my kitchen table on Saturday afternoon and ate the weird but still edible chocolate cake and had a few good laughs. Nothing profound and no real revelations. But just right. Comforting, ordinary and hopeful. Exactly what I needed right now, as I face the next half of my life.

Later that evening, as I came back to the computer to try and pound something out to post here, my eye was caught by a pile of DVDs and videos stacked beside my night stand. "Enchanted April" is my feel-good movie. There it was, waiting for me.

When I was in college and up until my Katie was born, my feel-better movie was "Meet me in St. Louis." But now the challenges of loving and accepting your parents and siblings, as well as getting the boy next door to notice and marry you were not the issues that mattered. Post baby it was figuring out how to deal with your hum-drum, ordinary married life and how to feel loved and valuable in that role. Granted I got a divorce between the birth of my daughter and now. But "Enchanted April" has never failed to work its magic for me and I need to make time to watch it, again.

Imagine it's a cold, wet March. Oh, right. We had one of those. Anyway, two middle-aged women feel trapped in their lives in post World War I London. "Enchanted April" is about what happens when these ladies break out of their routine and escape to Italy for a holiday.

Lottie (on the right) is timid, well meaning and married to a stingy, pompous lawyer with social-climbing ambitions. Rose (left) spends her time on church charity work and pretends not to mind that her husband leads a life separate from hers, writing racy novels under a pseudonym.
They are bored, lonely and an ad in the Times that promises "Wisteria and sunshine" captures Lottie's attention and her imagination.

Lottie's husband is incensed that she's spending money and not only did she not consult him about her plans, but how dare she! she's not taking him with her! Sound familiar? Or maybe your significant other would react like Rose's husband? Have a nice time, dear, I'm going to be away that month, anyway . . . Complete indifference.

I've read my share of movie reviews that all agree that this movie is about the way that this corner of paradise transforms the lives of four unhappy women. (In order to afford this wild jaunt they find two other "lost" females to take along with them. I won't talk about them because I don't want to give too much away. I'm hoping you'll watch this and enjoy it as much as I do.
And yes, it's a wild jaunt if you've always done what you've been told to do. Not wild in a Thelma and Louise kind of way. Don't go there. We're talking Merchant-Ivory and Masterpiece Classic, Pre-Downton Abbey kind of jaunts. Got it?)

Well, yes, Italy transforms them in a way. Nature can be transforming. Sunshine, wisteria, blue skies, masses of colorful flowers and turquoise water after a boring, cold, grey winter will do that for you. Lots of swimming, picnics, napping and lazing around in hammocks kind of therapy.

But I have to argue that their lives aren't truly transformed. When their month is over, they will go back to being wives living in London. No one is getting a divorce and there are no wild revelations or scandals.

I think this movie is about the power of friendship. Getting in touch with yourself and finding the value in who and what you are right now. These women are changed from their month in paradise - but not because they are different or better but this experience allows them to see what special,worthwhile and valuable women they were all along.

And that's exactly the kind of spring soul cleansing I need right now. And the kind of just-right 50th birthday celebration I've been having.


  1. Definitely my go-to feel good film. I'm watching it, again, today.

  2. I like your take on what the movie is most deeply about...and I suppose it is a transformation of sorts to at last be able to see it?