At times it seems the world is coming to an end, then a glimmer of hope strikes, and life starts moving in the right direction. Everything happens for the best, they say, and that saying is very relevant to Under the Tuscan Sun. Written and directed by Audrey Wells, it is a story about a woman who undergoes her worst nightmare: a divorce. And at a time when everything is going downhill, her life suddenly takes another turn and regains meaning.
Under the Tuscan Sun is about Frances (Diane Lane), a successful book critic who is leading a happy life until her world is thrown into confusion when she finds out that her husband has been having an affair with a teenager. After her divorce, she is forced to start life anew, moving into a so-called "camp divorce," where almost all the residents are divorcees.
When the landlord hands Frances the keys, he asks her what she does for living and also hints that there is a doctor living on the top floor in case she needs some therapy to overcome her grief. After she tells him that she is a writer, he jokingly suggests that she should help others with their suicide notes.
To help Frances, Patti (Sandra Oh), Frances's good friend, and Patti's girlfriend offer Frances a ticket to Tuscany on a "gay away tour" they can't make because of Patti's pregnancy. "…What are you doing living at camp divorce with all those losers," exclaims Patti, pointing out that Frances needs a change.
While on the trip Frances sees an old, ramshackle house, and she decides to try her luck, face her fears and buy the house. But first she gets dove poop on her head to show the owner of the house, who is a strong believer in signs, that she is the right buyer, destined to live in this house.
From then on the story describes Frances's life in Tuscany in her little house that slowly and literally comes back to life together with its hostess, who thought she would never recover.
Director Audrey Wells does a great job with the film. Not only does she pick the most scenic areas to film the movie (Cortona, Positano, Rome and Florence), but she also selects a group of very talented actors. Diane Lane, previously seen in Unfaithful, delivers an outstanding performance.
Oh makes the funniest jokes at all the right times and with her witty comments steals several scenes. At one point, when Patti is over at Frances's new house (her girlfriend left her) and she wants to use the bathroom, she points out to Frances that the water in the toilet is boiling hot. She jokingly states that this is not good "unless you want to give your [butt] a facial."
Another great actress is Linsday Duncan (Catherine), who plays the so-called "crazy blonde." She is known around Tuscany for her eccentric attitude and style. She is the type of woman who does whatever she wants and couldn't care less about public opinion. Though she seem very bizarre, she actually offers Frances the best advice: No matter what happens, always keep your childish innocence.
Under the Tuscan Sun is rated PG-13 for sexual content and language.
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