In the London of 1922, downtrodden housewife Lottie Wilkins (Josie Lawrence) feels the sudden need to get away from things, and invites her neighbour Rose (Miranda Richardson) - to whom she has never even spoken before - to share a holiday in an Italian villa. In order to save their finances, they share their holiday home with haughty dowager Mrs Fisher (Joan Plowright) and beautiful socialite Lady Caroline Dester (Polly Walker). Upon arrival the foursome clash almost instantly, but gradually learn to live with one another as their respective personalities are transformed by the surroundings.
A moving and unforgettably enchanting film. All the characters are perfectly realised by a superlative team of actors: it is impossible to imagine a cast better chosen. It would be invidious to single out one player for especial praise as all are compelling; even so, I must mention the great Miranda Richardson as the meek, self effacing Rose - quite outside her usual range of parts, exceptionally wide and varied though that is.
To add to the manifold delights of this magical film, it is shot against a ravishingly beautiful Italian background.
From its downbeat beginning to its joyous ending, this film is one long treat to watch. It takes you through the emotional journey of four women, who barely know each other, as they take a holiday in Italy.
In the best traditions of a production reminiscent of Merchant Ivory, the locations and photography are stunning, but the pleasure does not stop there. All four of the performances of the female leads are impeccable, as are those of the male figures in their lives. Josie Lawrence is a delight as the incurable optimist whose emerging love for life gradually infects all the others.
For this is not just a film about a holiday. It is about how the low self-esteem of each of the characters is transformed during their stay in Italy, and groundwork for continuing happiness is laid. This is not a film where you walk away thinking that all the fun is over for them. Things have changed for good.
I have been waiting for so long for this film to be released on DVD, constantly checking to see if it was there. I can't say just how thrilled I am that I will finally be able to own it.
I loved this film. My 29 year old son gave up watching it part way through so it doesn't suit everyone! I felt the warmth of the Italian sun and the soothing relaxation. Slowly unwinding and satisfactory.
Loved this movie, love the stories of redemption and how people came to realize away from home what they could not see there. Stepping out of our comfort zone, and seeing things from a different angle. It is enchanting.
Even if you first saw this film years ago on the TV, it is well worth buying the DVD to be able to watch it again. Great to take on holiday and chill out with in the evening if the weather is bad. Discover how the masks people wear can hide the real inner self, and there is a happy ending with warm Italian sun to cheer you up.