Under the Tuscan Sun

Directed by Audrey Wells

> > Feb 2004

Under the Tuscan Sun - Directed by Audrey Wells
By James KeastThe beautifully photographed, lovingly art directed and earnestly acted Under the Tuscan Sun is a perfect blend of adult (meaning mature, not x-rated) themes and artful execution; it's a wish-fulfilment fantasy for feminist professionals, a Pretty Woman for smart divorcees. Based loosely on the book by titular character Frances Mayes (played by super-sexy Diane Lane), the film follows a successful writer through her divorce and subsequent feeling of listlessness. Spontaneously on vacation, she buys a broken down Tuscan villa (must be nice) and spends a year's worth of montage-worthy scenes of charming incompetence rebuilding it (again, a luxury not all could afford). As the film never fails to point out, this physical rebuilding of the broken down house is a metaphor for rebuilding Frances's life and community: she befriends friendly Italian and Polish contractors, plays matchmaker amongst community youngsters and flirts with the suave (but naturally married and therefore safe) men that inevitably surround her. Diane Lane enjoys her Italian working vacation very much it seems, as does Canadian Sandra Oh, who gets a free trip abroad for her role as the pregnant lesbian best friend. The true star of Under the Tuscan Sun, however, is the landscape; for the mere price of a movie rental, the wish-fulfilment fantasy that any of this could come true is the added bonus. Speaking of bonuses, this DVD takes the usual route: a handful of wisely deleted scenes, a making of that only highlights how beautiful the Italian landscape is, and commentary by Audrey Wells that further points out the themes that are already quite plain on the screen. (Touchstone)
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