Released: February 12 2004
Cast: Diane Lane, Sandra Oh, Lindsay Duncan, Raoul Bova, Vincent Riotta
Director: Audrey Wells
Writer: John Brownlow
Rated: M 15+ Low Level Coarse Language
Running Time: 112 Minutes
Life offers you a thousand chances ... all you have to do is take one.
Frances Mayes (DIANE LANE) is a 35-year-old San Francisco writer whose perfect life has just taken an unexpected detour. Her recent divorce has left her with terminal writer's block and extremely depressed, and her best friend, Patti (SANDRA OH), is beginning to think she might never recover. On a whim, Frances purchases a villa named Bramasole meaning something that yearns for the sun. The home needs restoration, but what better place for a new beginning than the home of the Renaissance.
This story has been done before. A woman finds out the hard way that her husband is cheating on her, they divorce, she flees overseas to find herself. This is the story of Under The Tuscan Sun based on the 1996 book "Under The Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy" by Frances Mayes. But maybe I'm being harsh, as some of the movie is actually quite lovely. Diane Lane is gorgeous to watch and so is a lot of the Tuscany scenery, but it's a shame that she is stuck in a movie that is so full of clichés. One after the other they fall ad nauseum. She buys a villa on impulse and it's a real renovators nightmare, renovating being something which she knows nothing about. She cooks wonderful meals for her band of tradesmen and makes merry with them over and over. She finds a friend in the town, an eccentric woman, played by Lindsay Duncan, who tries to help her overcome her sadness, offering sage advice. She wanders around the countryside enjoying so many 'nice' moments and eventually finds herself an Italian lover. Still, Under The Tuscan Sun is watchable if you are after some light entertainment that won't tax your brain, just don't expect anything too deep and meaningful.
- Christina Bruce