Under the Tuscan Sun

"OK"

Under the Tuscan Sun Review


I would have never thought Diane Lane's performance as an adulterous wife in Adrian Lyne's Unfaithful would have earned her an Oscar nomination, let alone become the role that vaulted her career. Before Unfaithful, Lane played predominately background roles; now, she is a sexy Hollywood leading lady. Under the Tuscan Sun is carried almost exclusively by Lane, and while the signs clearly indicate she has the gift for such an undertaking, she's never given a chance to explore that potential in this film.

Lane plays San Francisco book critic and writer Frances Mayes (a real person who looks nothing like Diane Lane), whose recent divorce has sent her life into a tailspin. Recognizing that a change in scenery may be just the thing Frances needs, her newly pregnant best friend Patti (Sandra Oh) gives her a 10-day vacation in Tuscany, Italy. While on her tour, Frances impulsively buys a dilapidated villa called Bramasole, with the hopes of eventually turning it into a place where her own life can flourish once again. With the help of a friendly local real estate agent Señor Martini (Vincent Riotta), Frances secures a Polish construction crew to assist in the renovation of her new home.

Frances quickly becomes immersed in the local culture, and forms many friendships (really, it's too many) with the hospitable townspeople. Among those she meets is an eccentric, storytelling English socialite named Katherine (Lindsay Duncan), who helps Frances adapt to her new Italian lifestyle. Frances also befriends a neighbor family that teaches her how to harvest the massive olive crop located near her villa. Frances even progresses to the point where she is able to eventually fall in love with an Italian entrepreneur (Raoul Bova). By the time the film reaches its third act, it seems as if there isn't anyone in town Frances has not met.

For its opening acts, Under the Tuscan Sun sparkles with a sense of whimsy as we see Frances get acclimated to her new surroundings and grow past her divorce. Especially amusing is the relationship she develops with the Polish construction crew as she attempts to communicate her ideas with them. All they can ever manage to do is inadvertently tear down the wrong walls. Lane is utterly charming, with a sparkling smile and a youthful innocence in full glow. She is clearly leading lady material, and her performance is better than those by Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock in similar lighthearted comedies.

The film works until its midpoint where it quickly devolves into a formulaic resolution for all of the melodramas in Frances's life: Patti moves to Tuscany to raise her baby alone; Frances must convince her neighbor that it's okay for their daughter to date a non-Italian; Frances comforts Katherine with her relationship issues. I could go on! It's almost like director Audrey Wells, who adapted the film from Frances Mayes's book of the same name, dug herself a hole so deep with all of the extraneous characters, that she had to waste the second half of the movie explaining their significance (or in this case, their lack thereof). While doing so, Lane's masterful performance is immediately abandoned, as she becomes relegated to a supporting character.

Under the Tuscan Sun is an attractive fairy tale of a film, with a likeable cast, beautiful scenery, and genuine, heartfelt sincerity. But, with all of the extra and unnecessary details, those qualities are significantly dwarfed and the film becomes nothing more than a Lifetime, chick-flick, movie-of-the-week on the big screen.

On DVD there's a short making-of featurette, three deleted scenes, and a full audio commentary by writer/director Wells.

Drunk, and under the sun.



Under the Tuscan Sun

Facts and Figures

Run time: 113 mins

In Theaters: Friday 26th September 2003

Box Office USA: $43.5M

Distributed by: Buena Vista Pictures

Production compaines: Touchstone Pictures, Timnick Films, Blue Gardenia Productions, Tatiale Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 62%
Fresh: 92 Rotten: 57

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Frances, as Patti, as Katherine, as Marcello, as Martini, Mario Monicelli as Old Man with Flowers, Roberto Nobile as Placido, Anita Zagaria as Fiorella, Evelina Gori as Nona Cardinale, Giulia Steigerwalt as Chiara, Pawel Szajda as Pawel, Valentine Pelka as Jerzy, Sasa Vulicevic as Zbignew, as Nino, as Signora Raguzzi

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.