Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)

Comedy, Drama, Romance
Diane Lane, Sandra Oh, Lindsay Duncan, Raoul Bova
A writer impulsively buys a villa in Tuscany in order to change her life.
Though formulaic and superficial, Under the Tuscan Sun is redeemed by Lane's vibrant performance.
  • Buena Vista Pictures Company:
  • PG-13 Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 26 Sep 2003 Released:
  • 03 Feb 2004 DVD Release:
  • $43.5M Box office:

All subtitles:

Lovely movie9/10
This movie is wonderfully romantic. It is sweetly written and just a good girl movie. Any woman who has had any sadness in her life and needs a new start will appreciate this movie. The views are incredibly and makes you want to fly to Tuscany and live there forever! The characters are those that make you fall in love and you will relive moments in your life while watching this movie. I will say you need to be in a loving or romantic mood before watching this movie. It does take a few minutes to really get good but when it does, it's wonderful. I hope you enjoy as much as I did. A Walk in the Clouds with Keanu Reeves is also like this movie. It has the same romance and drama but is much sweeter.
A stroll down a Tuscan Lane7/10

In "Under the Tuscan Sun", a recently divorced American writer/critic (Lane) ventures to Italy where she sets about putting the pieces of her shattered life back together in the rustic, bucolic, scenic countryside of Tuscany. Lane registers a fine performance in this lighthearted drama spritzed with humor and romance which is as lovely as it is clumsy. Obvious in its attempts to tug at the heart-strings of romantics with all the expected Italian stereotypes and cliches, this flick received mixed reviews and will resonate most with more mature sentimentalists. Those who enjoy this film may want to check out V. Redgrave in "A Month by the Lake" (1995). (B)
Gorgeous Eye Candy5/10

I love this movie. I don't care if it was a "chic flick" or what. Whatever, it was so breathtakingly beautiful that anyone should be entranced by it's sheer visual assault on the senses. When you add great performances by a fine cast, and an interesting story, you can't loose. Who wouldn't love to escape for an hour or so to the Italian Sun? Even the ending was realistic.

This is the second movie I've seen lately that took place in a beautiful countryside Italian Villa. The other, "My House in Umbria" was equally eye catching and enjoyable.

But I think I've reached the point of satiation. If I have to see one more movie where the lead actress has nothing to do but make friends, remodel her gorgeous Tuscan Villa, eat gourmet food on her sunny patio in the garden, have no money worries, and not work, I think I might snap. I pray daily that Diane Lane and Maggie Smith will one day be slinging hash in a Barstow truckstop and experience the real world.

Diane Lane is Brighter Than the Tuscan Sun9/10

"Under the Tuscan Sun" is a polarizing film that seems to leave viewers (and critics) either in love with a story of growth and renewal or dismissive of its line. I'm firmly in the former camp.

Based so loosely on Frances Mayes's own account of her regeneration in beautiful Italy as to carry an end credit pronouncing that substantial fictionalization replaced key true details, writer and director Audrey Wells crafted a stunning vehicle for Diane Lane whose radiance projects from the screen powerfully. And in every scene.

Diane Lane, as the changed-from-the-memoir Frances, abandons San Francisco after her never shown cad husband divorces her, getting the house she once loved. Frances is a writer and literary critic. Why does she leave S.F.? Two of her closest friends give her a ticket for a gay bus tour of Italy and she jumps off the bus to look into a ramshackle old country house up for sale. Impetuosity? Definitely. Believable? Yes, actually.


Frances' new house isn't a handyman's special, it's a contractor's assurance of food on the table for a very long time. Frances adapts to the house and the locals with remarkable aplomb. Tuscany is sunny but its light fades before Frances's challenged but resilient commitment to not just restore a house but to create a home. The two aren't the same. I'm not sure how many male directors could so well create that reality.

Director Wells tells the story from a woman's heart but with a breadth of humor and drama that should appeal to anyone who wants to believe, or needs to hope, that there really is a light at the end of the tunnel of marital infidelity and dissolution.

Supporting Diane Lane is Sandra Oh as Patti, her closest friend. In relatively short scenes, Ms. Oh displays a lively and laconic grasp not only of her friend's life but also of her own which is not, as they say today, devoid of "issues."

Lindsay Duncan is Katharine, an older woman determined to hold on to her now fading attractiveness through a blend of humor, earthiness - and alcohol. Her character may be predictable but she's also fun.

Raoul Bova has garnered some press attention as handsome Marcello, the romantically available and affluent Italian. That's a character we've seen in many, many films and Bova delivers an expectedly satisfactory but hardly deep performance.

Yes, Diane Lane is beautiful but there is much more to her acting than a shining appearance. Her facial gestures, mirroring her emotions as they shift from moment to moment, are the product of extraordinary acting ability. And her character draws a powerful portrayal.

Credit also must go to cinematographer Geoffrey Simpson. Perhaps it would be impossible for a blind camera director to turn in anything but a gorgeous visage of rural and urban Italy but Simpson did do a marvelous job of making the locales come alive.

This is a film for adults, for people who can understand pain and the search for recovery and understand the difficulty of coming back from a space that once offered the mirage of safety and security.

I loved this film.

9/10.
Can I give this a zero?1/10
Well to do American divorcee with more money than brains buys a rundown villa in Tuscany. (Much more money; whilst having to dicker over the price, she subsequently manages to cook sumptuous buffets for her workmen and wander around Italy indefinitely with no job or apparent means of support.) Interminable boredom and the inevitable Italian lover ensue; this is a chick flick in the most pejorative sense of the term. Lane acts like an unskilled clueless teenage ingenue throughout - which dynamically clashes with her seriously fading looks - along the way smashing into a variety of (mostly Italian) cardboard stereotypes, dykes, divas, senile contessas and gigolos among them. Bloated with unnecessary scenes, the most ridiculous being a clumsily inserted and pointless recreation of the fountain scene in 'La Dolce Vita'. (A similar conceit was used in an effective and appropriate narrative context in 'Only You', Norman Jewison's vastly superior ode to Italy and romance). 'Tuscan Sun' may be the most vacant piece of cinema of the last decade, despite its admittedly well-lensed panoramas of Italy. Bonus negative point for the extraneous lover parachuted in at the last minute to provide requisite Hollywood ending for its targeted audience of Oprah-brainwashed housewives. Avoid at all costs, unless, of course, you view Oprah and Dr. Phil as pinnacles of intelligent discourse.