Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
United Kingdom, 1992. BBC Films, Miramax, Greenpoint Films. Screenplay by Peter Barnes, based on the novel by Elizabeth von Arnim. Cinematography by Rex Maidment. Produced by Ann Scott. Music by Richard Rodney Bennett. Production Design by Malcolm Thornton. Costume Design by Sheena Napier. Film Editing by Dick Allen. Academy Awards 1992. Golden Globe Awards 1992. New York Film Critics Awards 1992.
This film may at first seem to be a run-of-the-mill, harmless period piece, but in actuality it’s the best harmless period piece of the year. Four bored and lonely English women decide to pool their resources and rent a villa in Italy for a month. Their lives go from uneventfully dull to bedroom door-slamming delightful when they find themselves set upon by husbands and lovers who are threatened by these ladies’ newfound enjoyment for life. Joan Plowright is adorable as the oldest of the quartet, while Miranda Richardson shines as the presumably prim housewife who discovers some inner strength. The excellent screenplay by Peter Barnes is based on the novel by Elizabeth van Arnim.