Culture > Movies

Enchanting film

Movies | Disney musical offers a genuine defense of marital love

Issue: "Our pork," Dec. 8, 2007

Are you tired of microwaved unamusicals like the awful cinematic rehash of The Producers? Do you long for an original song or two, rather than the remixed pop of Moulin Rouge? You may be suffering from Post-Disney Heartbreak (PDH), an ailment for which the studio's new movie Enchanted is the bracing cure.

In Enchanted (rated PG for some scary images and mild innuendo), an evil queen (Susan Sarandon) banishes a princess named Giselle from the idyllic world of Andalasia to "a place where there are no happy endings!" That place is live-action, modern-day Manhattan, where Giselle (Amy Adams) and her beau (James Marsden as Edward, the gormless prince who pursues her to the Apple) meet with some small resistance to their sunny attitudes and romantic ideals. They still sing and dance, though, and local funny animals still come to the rescue.

Adams is wonderful in the lead role. Neither cloying nor knowing, Giselle is as sincere as a valentine.

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Unsurprisingly, Enchanted is about falling in love. Robert, a divorce attorney who hasn't married his girlfriend of five years (though the film goes to great lengths to tell us that they haven't slept together), has soured on romance since his wife left him. Giselle has no idea what divorce means. When Robert (Patrick Dempsey) explains it to her, she bursts into tears and immediately tries to reconcile two of his clients. Adams and director Kevin Lima seem to be as upset as Giselle over the idea that a marriage could end, and there's not a laugh for miles.

This is an unflaggingly chipper film, but there's a genuine concern underlying it, suggesting that Lima understands that marital love is both hard and worth the effort. Without any gloating over her rude awakening, the movie goes a long way toward making Adams' naïve fairy-tale princess into a real flesh-and-blood-and-confused-emotional person, and it takes its time to charm us along the way.


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