Have you ever gone on vacation to an exotic place and found that your body, mind, and soul are miraculously refreshed? Certain places can do that, and such transformations are nothing less than spiritual.

Enchanted April, based on Elizabeth Von Arnim's 1922 novel, is about such a holiday. One drab, rainy, and wretched day in London, Lottie Wilkins (Josie Lawrence) sees a newspaper ad for the month-long rental of a medieval castle in Italy on the shores of the Mediterranean. Dreaming of liberation from her oppressive husband and the chores of attending to his needs, she convinces Rose (Miranda Richardson), another unhappily married woman, to join her in this grand escape and once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

They ask two strangers to join them: Lady Caroline (Polly Walker), a high society beauty who is fed up with the men who swarm around her, and Mrs. Fisher (Joan Plowright), a reclusive older woman whose closest friends were an illustrious group of now dead Victorian writers. Although these women come from different classes and different stages of life, they share in common a need to put aside their burdens and find themselves again. Before long, they are revitalized by the sun, the sea, and the scent of flowers in the Italian paradise. Feeling flooded by love, Dottie and Rose even invite their husbands to share the magic of the place.

Enchanted April is one of the best movies of the year. Director Mike Newell takes an out-of-the-ordinary situation and setting and makes us believe it is within our reach. A holiday, this delightful film says, can be a spiritual experience.

The Miramax Award-winning Collection DVD release includes commentary by director Mike Newell and producer Ann Scott.