Friday nights usually means movie night with a friend at my house because we're both beat by the end of the week. God willing, Im usually out of work by 5 on Fridays. Shes a nurse, so rotates shifts most weeks and sometimes ends up working later some Friday nights. If she works the late shift then we watch one movie, but if she works the early shift then we usually watch at least two movies. This is how I ended up at Blockbuster (shes on restriction) picking up Master and Commander and Under The Tuscan Sun two weekends ago.
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Frances is in quite a bind. Despite the fact that she is a successful writer and professor, she discovers that her husband Tom has been having a little fling on the side. But her biggest problem is that her husband is pursuing alimony. Can you believe it? He cheats on her and he wants alimony because he knows how to take advantage of Californias no fault laws. So she is forced to sell her half of the house to him (apparently the new woman likes the house and wants to live in it) and move into a small-furnished apartment. She takes only her books and a small vase from the old house.
On the event of her new found freedom, her good friend Patti and Pattis partner decide to take her out to dinner. They get her a small cake, imprinted with the word freedom. How cute. The couple break there own news over dinner
Patti is pregnant! The two were planning a tour of Tuscany but cannot go now, so Patti hands the ticket over to Frances, who immediately balks at the idea because it is a gay tour. But Patti thinks its perfect because Frances wont have to worry about meeting anyone.
A few days later, Frances is on her way to Tuscany. The group is very friendly and shows their support over her recent relationship problems. Walking alone in the market, Frances spots a board listing some homes for sale. On the bus ride back, they are forced to stop to allow some sheep in the road to cross. Coincidently, they stop right in front of the Bramasole
one of the villas Frances had seen advertised.
Frances immediately jumps off the bus, taking all her belongings with her and waving goodbye to those on the bus. She goes inside the house to find a couple already wanting to make an offer to the realtor (Senor Martini) and old woman (Countessa) that owns the run-down villa. The Countessa knows this is her chance and immediately raises the price so that the pair can argue it over with Frances.
I'd like to make an offer on the house. This is what I can pay, minus the work on the place, and a rental car to drive off a cliff when this all turns out to have been a terrible mistake.
Frances wins out and Senor Martini invites her down to obtain the keys to the house. She doesnt even have to sign any papers before being given ownership! She goes home to begin the cleaning and calls to tell Patti what is going on. She is forced to cut the call short when a huge storm rolls across the land.
Can you star 69 Italy?
Senor Martini and several crews arrive in the morning to check out the house and tell Frances their ideas about repairing it. Frances must choose one crew. Her neighbors are friendly. Senor Martini becomes somewhat a friend in her time of need.
Signora, please stop being so sad. If you continue like this, I will be forced to make love to you, and I've never been unfaithful to my wife.
But can Frances survive in Tuscany alone? What will become of her new home? What will become of her love life? What will become of her writing?
~ Soundtrack ~
Ive Never Been in Love Before - The Alan Broadbent Trio, Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of The Week) Oscar Peterson Trio, Fashion Party - Daniele Luppi, Humming Chorus - Rome Opera House Chorus, Aria II Vecchiotto Cerca Moglie - Hungarian Radio Chorus
I was a little surprised at the chain of events in Under The Tuscan Sun, especially with the ending. I refuse to tell you, but its not something I would have expected to happen. I think I went into this movie expecting a lot of happy things to occur to the main character after she moves to Tuscany, after being dragged through the mud by her ex-husband.
I found it utterly hilarious that she had to pay him alimony when he was the one that had an affair. When she had supported him the past couple of years as he was writing his book. I dont know if there is really the no fault law in California, but it really sucks if it is.
I have truly enjoyed watching Diane Lane in the many films that she has done. She seems to be such a natural and she has somewhat of that unconventional beauty that is most attractive. She is an awesome actress, but I felt that her wide range of emotions was not rightfully displayed in Under The Tuscan Sun. Lane did do an excellent job with what she had though and I believe this movie would have flopped without her.
Sandra Oh provided the much-needed shoulder to lean on during key parts and also was able to display herself as needing that friendship in return from Frances. Shes a delightful addition to the cast. I wasnt quite sure what part Lindsay Duncan was playing as the washed out beauty that seemed to be there for nothing but as shock factor for Frances. But I soon realized that she was there to help open Frances up to life.
I believe that Senor Martini was placed in the supporting cast as a mere tease to the audience. Frances and he seem to get along so well that you are saddened to learn that he is devoted to his wife and family. It leaves you almost wishing for another divorce to occur in this movie. He plays an important part in that he is there to bring Frances back to reality and give her hope for the future.
The work crew that Frances eventually hires is also there for the entertainment factor. They do show up in the movie every once in awhile, but most of the time they are working in the background and do not have speaking scenes. That is, except for that of the character Pawel, who has his own little story line.
Bonus features on this DVD include Tuscany 101, Deleted Scenes, and Audio Commentary, and some Sneak Peeks at future films. You can also choose your audio options or to have subtitles during the movie. Under the Tuscan Sun was nominated for one Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Diane Lane).
Under The Tuscan Sun provides you with humor, culture, romance, heartbreak, friendship (old and new), and the central theme of rebuilding. Overall, I think I really enjoyed this movie. From the acting to the cinematography, there is always something going on and something to look at. I truly enjoyed the Italian sites and views of the Tuscany countryside. Youll be wanting to book an immediate tour of your own after watching this! I know I did.
Under The Tuscan Sun was a delightful watch, despite a few slow parts, and will have you believing in second chances.
*Under the Tuscan Sun was based on a novel by Frances Hayes.
~ Happy Watching!
Genre: Drama, Romance
Release Date: September 2003
Director: Audrey Wells
Writer: Audrey Wells (screenplay)
Running Time: 112 minutes
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