This is a charming film about an older, free spirited English woman, an expatriate who in 1937 Italy is interested in an older, stuffy Englishman who is on vacation at the same lakeside resort. A young American nanny, who is at the resort with the family for whom she works, catches the same Englishman's eye. Their love triangle provides many interesting moments for the viewer.
Vanessa Redgrave, who only gets better with age, is charming as the older woman, Miss Bentley, who finds herself competing for the attentions of Major Wilshaw, curmudgeonly played by Edward Fox. Miss Beaumont, played with a certain repellent insousciance by Uma Thurman, capriciously tosses in her hat into the romance stakes. Miss Bentley finds herself playing second fiddle to Miss Beaumont. A young, attractive Italian, however, sees the charms that Major Wilshaw initially fails to appreciate, and Miss Bentley uses his interest in her to great advantage. When Major Wilshaw finally gets his wakeup call, all is well that ends well.
Miss Bentley's wardrobe and style is simplicity itself. Clearly, she is not a woman to follow fashion trends. Yet, she is clearly a woman who will follow where her heart will lead. The young and nubile Miss Beaumont is much more of a fashion maven, yet she lacks the depths of beauty that Miss Bentley naturally has, a beauty that grows from within rather than from without. This is a lovely movie that will make the viewer dream of a time long past.