Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA/Italy, 2003. Touchstone Pictures, Timnick Films, Blue Gardenia Productions, Tatiale Films. Story and Screenplay by Audrey Wells, based on the book Under The Tuscan Sun: At Home In Italy by Frances Mayes. Cinematography by Geoffrey Simpson. Produced by Tom Sternberg, Audrey Wells. Music by Christophe Beck. Production Design by Stephen McCabe. Costume Design by Nicoletta Ercole. Film Editing by Arthur Coburn, Andrew Marcus, Todd E. Miller. Golden Globe Awards 2003.
After barely surviving a nasty and devastating divorce, a literary critic (Diane Lane) goes on an Italian vacation on the suggestion of her best friend (Sandra Oh) and ends up falling in love with the Tuscan countryside. Despite its being a risky idea, Lane purchases a rundown villa and decides to make the three hundred year-old house into a home. The rest is pretty predictable: she rediscovers life, has a fling with a gorgeous hunk (Raoul Bova), and finds a makeshift family of friends and lovers alike. Somehow, despite its Oprah Book Club trappings, this film is charming and easy to take even when you are most aware of its cliches. This is mostly attributed to director Audrey Wells’ punchy script, which features snappy dialogue and emotional situations that aren’t manipulative. The rest of the credit goes to the luminous Lane, whose incredible beauty and whimsical performance root the character in reality, especially when she finds herself in situations that are just too good to be true and reacts with her rich, affecting laugh.