Picks and Pans Review: A Month by the Lake

updated 11/13/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/13/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

Vanessa Redgrave, Uma Thurman, Edward Fox

If you loved Enchanted April, you will be charmed by Month. On the other hand if you found yourself nodding off during April, as I did, ushers may have to prod you, poke you, even call for smelling salts. This formula is true and plain—and one only wishes all of life were so.

Redgrave is a spirited, unmarried British lady of a certain age, or slightly past it, spending a mild, sun-dappled summer in an Italian hotel by Lake Como. She develops a crush on another British vacationer, a retired army major (Fox). He, in turn, is having stirrings for a young, flirtatious governess (Thurman). The romantic repercussions are rather tinkling, like a Chopin waltz played on a music box. Over and over.

It's always a pleasure to see Redgrave, but her raw emotional strength is wrong for a movie so feebly genteel. She has one transcendent scene: When Fox gives her an unexpected compliment, her jaw goes slack and, gazing off across the lake, her eyes dim with a sort of glassy ecstasy. Fox, too, has a fine moment of comic yet tender pathos, when the object of his affection ridicules him by comparing him to a candlestick. But Thurman's neurotic, flighty coquette is a weird misfire. She suggests Deborah Kerr on cocaine. (R)

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