Saturday, April 05, 2008

Friday Film Night

Medical and Desire author Olivia Gates makes her Pink Heart Society debut to share with us her love for the movie Enchanted.

It’s been so long since I came out of a movie theater so filled with good adrenaline that I wanted to pirouette my pleasure and sing out the snippets of song the movie has left lingering in my mind. In fact, I don’t remember a movie affecting me this way since The Sound of Music, which I saw for the first time when I was fourteen!

So, OK, a lot of movies leave me with a smile on my face. But no movie has left me feeling good with a capital G like that. And it had that same effect on the many, not to mention disparate, people I dragged to see the movie with me the four times I’ve seen it. Each and every one of them came out feeling they’d exited a sweet dream, smiling, lighter and humming the songs and repeating the memorable lines in the movie.

And the movie that did us all that huge favor? Enchanted. The ultimate romantic fairytale, as Disney have woven it into our collective minds, come to life. Literally.

In the 11 animated minutes of the movie, would-be Princess Giselle sits around singing with the woodland creatures, while waiting for her prince to come along. No sooner does she finish singing, than Prince Edward does come along, following the script dictated by the fairytale manifesto. After a fracas with a troll who wanted to have her for a snack, she literally falls into Edward’s lap, and they immediately ‘finish each other’s duet’, exchange ‘true love’s kiss’ and decide to get married the next day. But Prince Edward, of course, has a Wicked Stepmother. Said WSM will lose her crown if Eddie boy marries. Now, being wicked, she takes steps to prevent that. With the old wishing well trick and disguised as a hag, the WSM casts Giselle to a land in which happy endings do not exist: Earth.

Hurled from her make-believe world, Giselle literally comes to life and exits through a manhole into the all-too-real streets of Manhattan. This is when the fun begins.

She wanders NYC, totally confused and vulnerable, searching for a way back home. As she thinks she’s found a portal leading there, she again literally falls into the lap of McDreamy …uh…ahem…Robert, a divorced, single-father, divorce lawyer, who under the influence of his daughter’s beseeching and his own chivalry, ends up taking her home. When he doesn’t have the heart to send her on her way, what follows is one clash after another of opposites, of no-expectations realism versus fantasy-oriented optimism, as Giselle invades the lives of all the jaded people around her with her exuberance and innocence, while they in return temper her naïveté and help her grow up in ways Snow White and Aurora couldn't have even conceive.

During the unfolding of the fun, there is a fantastic sequence when Giselle decides to clean up Robert's apartment. She throws open a window and calls out to her usual domestic helpers. But since this is NYC, she ends up with an apartment full of rats, pigeons and cockroaches, who do an ingenious job of cleaning the mess. The happy working song is priceless from start to finish.

As the movie flows, the two opposites move gradually to a meeting point. Giselle finds herself being drawn away from the indoctrination of the fantasy and to the highly imperfect and cynical Robert, and discovers how complicated, demanding and even frightening love really is. And as he falls in love with the pure-hearted, life-embracing Giselle, Robert begins to dare to loosen up, to trust and even to dream again. In the backdrop of all those lighthearted if poignant developments, Prince Edward is charging to Giselle’s rescue. And despite all of Nathaniel's, the WSM's henchman, elaborate attempts to throw him off her trail, and blessed by the luck and coincidence only a fairy prince can have, he eventually finds her. And the final detour from the fantasy formula occurs.

Giselle realizes she’d rather gamble on a love that is based, not on magical and unsubstantiated compatibility, but on the precarious criteria of appreciation and acceptance, of shared experiences and sense of humor, of unstoppable chemistry and realistic expectations, and discovers this is all that it takes to create a love that’s willing to sacrifice everything for the other. So she embraces it even with no guarantees of ever after, or anything else for that matter.

And this is where the movie so much resembles our own books.

Our own romances, no matter the degree of the fantasy element they contain, all have that leap of faith, that willingness to go the distance, to discover and give the best of oneself. And they always give the hope that if we follow the prodding of our heart when our mind has so much to approve of, (and the body is certainly willing, too! :-D) and go all out to meet the other halfway, a personalized happily ever after is indeed attainable.

In Enchanted, Disney made a movie that both upholds the standards that made Disney a worldwide icon, while making fun of those very traditions, big time. And it works, spectacularly. Everything managed to weave a magical web of vivacity and joy. I can’t imagine anyone with a pulse or a heart who wouldn’t enjoy Enchanted.

I can’t end this without specifying what, for me, made Enchanted so magical. Simply, it’s the masterful casting, from the smallest, non-speaking roles to the stars. The cast is amazing and I can't imagine anyone else filling these roles.

Amy Adams brings the naïve Disney Princess to full life, without a flicker of tongue-in-cheek, and infuses the character with a level of loveliness and spunk that keeps her from being predictable. And she holds her own with the best voices that sang Disney’s memorable Princesses’ songs.

Patrick Dempsey is convincing and sympathetic as well as delicious as the resigned, jaded single-father who gradually regains his joie de vivre and his inner dreamer.

James Marsden is an absolute hoot as the obliviously haughty and overconfident prince, a delightful doofus as two-dimensional as the realm that spawned him. Who would have thought the most boring X-Man would end up being so much fun? And such a musical talent, too? His voice and singing skills simply stunned me.

Susan Sarandon is, as usual, incredible, the eternal female, and perfectly, delightfully evil. Timothy Spall is wonderfully pitiful and despicable as the evil queen’s thrall and wannabe lover.
And most of all, Pip! A CGI chipmunk who is the ultimate in cuteness and spunk and loyalty and resourcefulness, who gave the theatre many laugh out loud moments. We still imitate the parts when, robbed of his speech ability in the real world, he kept trying to mime the plot Nathaniel was hatching to get rid of Giselle to the zealously uncomprehending Edward. Hilarious.

So now I have a question, and a contest, for you.

What movie left you wishing to see it again, and again, to revel in any detail you might have not fully appreciated the first time(s), and in that feel-good vibe?

Post your answers in the comments and you'll be entered to win a copy of "The Desert Lord’s Baby", my debut book in Silhouette Desire. I'll announce the winner here in the comments.

Olivia is thrilled to have THREE books out in April. What a month!

The first book is The Sheikh Surgeon’s Proposal. It was her first Sheikh book, the one that heralded FIVE more, and it sold out on the Mills & Boon site when it came out in February, but is now available on eHarlequin. Visit her website to read an excerpt and the fabulous reviews it has garnered! The second book is Desert Prince, Expectant Mother, and it’s on the shelves in the UK in April. The third book is her Silhouette Desire debut, and Book One in her THRONE of JUDAR mini-series. The Desert Lord’s Baby is a TOP PICK from Romantic Times, and an eHarelquin eBook Bestseller! It’s out now on eHarelquin in both paperback and eBook format, but will be on the shelves in May. You can read an excerpt on Olivia’s revamped website.

On her website you can also ogle…uh, read about the hunky Sheikhs that populate the six sheikh books she has out in 2008! You can also join her mailing list, or enter a contest to win free books.


  1. Hi Olivia, you have me wanting to rush out and grab a copy of Enchanted. The movie that did it for me, however, the one I kept going back to the cinemas to see, that I bought on video, then DVD, was When Harry Met Sally. So many laugh out loud moments - and I love a good friends to lovers story.

    5 books out in April! Wow, you go girl!

  2. Hi Olivia, Thanks for the recommendation. I'll be sure to check out Enchanted! I have quite a few films that are on my "watch again and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy" list. I guess I'll mention The Cutting Edge because it's such an opposites attract story -- of a haughty figure skater and the hockey playing hero she would love to throttle and ends up falling in love with -- and vice versa, of course! love.

  3. I love Enchanted. We rented it over Easter and the girls loved it too, so we went and bought it.

    Another movie that I love and watch over and over Love Actually. It doesn't have the music numbers, but it DOES have Hugh Grant dancing to the Pointer Sisters!

  4. I also enjoyed Enchanted and loved James Marsden. Wasn't he a fabulous doofus?

    My favourite feel-good, watch again and again, is probably Pretty Woman. Guess I'm a sucker for that fairytale, plus I love the rich setting. And one I know will become a favourite is Juno.

    Congrat's on all the new releases, Olivia.


  5. I haven't seen Enchanted but my daughter did and loved it. One of my favorites is Family Man with Nicolas Cage. I loved how his character changed during the movie.

  6. Pride and Prejudice the A&E version is one movie that I love to watch over and over. When my friend lent it to me I watched every day ofr a week. My Daughter keep saying "Oh god not this again." Another one I love to watch over and over is Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, it is my favorite musical. I really want to see Enchanted, it looks like a cute movie.

  7. I have been wanting to see Enchanted. Dirty Dancing is the movie I love to watch over and over.

  8. I can't remember the last time I watched a movie and I can't remember one I wanted to watch over and over again since I was a very young girl and loved Pat Boone and his movies. For those of you who don't remember or have never heard of him ...he was comtemporary of Elvis Presley (who I did not like).

  9. Twin Dragons starring Jackie Chan. Not only is he one of my most favourite martial arts stars but he is so funny too. In this film he plays twin brothers who were seperated at birth and live two totally seperate lives. Then they both end up in the same city and the fun begins. There are so many great things that happen that I love rewatchign it to see what I might have missed previously :D

  10. Love Enchanted. In fact, I just watched it last night with the kids.

    For me it would have to be The Notebook. Even though I sobbed like a baby, I have never before felt such emotion while watching a movie. I liked it so much I just borrowed the book from my sister to see how it stacks up.

  11. Okay, this is a hard one because I love so many but I've watched Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at least a dozen times. In fact, it got me into trouble one year: I was working the midnight shift from 8 pm to 8 am in the commcentre on an airbase in Alberta. 7Bfor7B's was on but the only TV was down in the Sarge's office so I had to keep running back to the commcen during the commercials to check for msgs. At one point, I had to take care of a msg and knew the commercial was over so I rushed out of there and realized halfway down the hall that I'd locked the keys inside. It was 0100 Jan 1st and I had to call my Sgt to let me back in. It was hard to explain that one!

  12. Hi Olivia:

    Well, I'm convinced that Enchanted is a movie that my 16, 20 and 22 year old daughters will want to watch over and over again.

    Some of our favorites are: Pride and Prejudice (A&E version, although we have several others as well), Kate and Leopald (just love that yummy Leopald, Huge Jackson) and Strictly Ballroom.


  13. Hi, Michelle
    So glad I motivated you to watch Enchanted. I truly think you'll enjoy it. I hope!!! :-O

    And ooh, yes, I LOVED When Harry Met Sally. It was the first time I saw Meg Ryan and I loved her. That fake O scene, and that line afterwards: "I'll have what she's having!" have to be some of the most famous in movie history:-D

  14. Hi, Anne!!

    Hope you do enjoy Enchanted if you happen to check it out.

    And thanks to YOU for your recommendation from your "watch again and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy" list. I haven't seen The Cutting Edge but it sounds just like the kind of cutting (excuse the pun. :-D) wit movie I love to watch. I'll have to get my hands on it!

  15. Donna!
    I'm so glad you too watched and enjoyed Enchanted. I can't wait to buy my own copy, but it's not available where I live yet.

    As for Love Actually, I have a terrible confession. I never watched it in full. I once caught the last twenty minutes of it on TV! Inexcusable, huh? :-O

  16. Bron!
    Yes, indeed, James Marsden was one truly fabulous doofus.
    Did you happen to see his other movie, 27 Dresses? I've yet to see it.

    And yep, Pretty Woman is a see-every-time-its-on movie for me too. And yep, that rich setting does it for me too. No wonder we're both writing for Desire, eh? ;-)

    As for Juno, that's another movie I haven't seen. Gosh, my movie viewing experience is so spotty! If only I managed to have a day with a couple more hours inbuilt, I'd fix that!

    And thanks so much for the congrats on my new releases. After almost two years with nothing on the shelves, they feel even more exciting!

  17. Maureen
    I hope you too see Enchanted! I'm sure you'll love it too.

    And yes, I just watched Family Man again a month ago and loved it all over again. A great, feel-good movie, and the hero's journey was so involving, funny and poignant to watch.

  18. Rebekah

    OMG, I'll watch ANY version of Pride and Prejudice, AND Jane Eyre, again and again and again.

    As for Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, my, yes. An incredible musical. Thanks for reminding me of it. I'm pull it out of my library to watch again.

    I hope you'll enjoy Enchanted!

  19. Crystal

    I fell in love with Patrick Swayze when I saw Dirty Dancing, kept hoping he'd make endless movies like this, but alas, apart from Ghost, he simply never got the roles worthy of the multi talented artist that he is.

  20. Ellen
    I've never heard of Pat Boone, so thanks for telling us about him. I went and read his profile on Wikipedia. He sounds like a very interesting man and artist!

  21. Ilona

    I love most of the Jackie Chan movies I've seen, since I love him, but Twin Dragon is one I haven't seen. Will certainly look it up!

  22. Marcy
    Glad that you too enjoyed Enchanted.

    As for the Notebook, I did exactly your reverse. I read the book and have yet to see the movie! :-)

  23. Anita Mae!

    What a predicament! Hope there were no repercussions!

    But now my appetite for watching Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is well and truly whetted. I'm already humming the songs and I know I won't be able to sleep now if I don't watch it. And that will probably get me in trouble as I probably won't be able to wake up to go to work. :-D

  24. Nancy
    I really think Enchanted is a movie to be enjoyed by any age group.

    And ooh, Leopold!!!! Uh...I mean KATE and Leopold. Hugh Jackman is another artist, in my opinion, who isn't getting roles to do his mutli talents justice!

  25. oh the real life movie i would like to see again and again is Kate and Leopold because Hugh Jackman is just too yummy!
    The Iron Giant (animated) though is one i re-watch many times. The part where the Iron Giant murmurs "Soooperman..." as he rescues the world just gets me everytime.
    I'm an animator... can't help it.