Under The Tuscan Sun

A Film Review By Jason L. King

Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language
Starring:Diane Lane
Directed By:Audrey Wells

Final Grade:

Life deals out things in the strangest ways. Just when you think everything is going how you want it to go, something goes wrong. A bad choice is made, a good choice is made, and then the result can be the exact opposite from what you expected it to be. Many people say that love is this kind of a happening. Many people fall in love, get married and then see them divorced in no time at all. In fact, most people in the world now days are getting divorces. Isn’t this topsy- world fun?

Under the Tuscan Sun is also a story of Coping with Divorce. Middle aged Novelist Frances Mayes thinks everything in her life is going well. She is about to start her newest book; she has a loving family and is a respected book reviewer. But then a bombshell drops on her. Her husband divorces her for a much younger college student. Heartbroken and depressed, Frances goes on a trip to Tuscany that was suggested by her friends as a way to escape the pain of divorce. But on an impulse, Frances suddenly finds herself buying a rundown house in Tuscany and trying to rebuild her life in a new land.

I know I wasn’t the target audience for this film, and that’s ok. I still never the less found some enjoyment in it. The plot was easygoing and fun to watch unfold, even though it did take forever to unfold. The biggest problem with the story is that it was so super saturated with details and sub plot stories that never fully got examined that it quickly just strayed in too many directions. But none the less, it did manage to nicely pull together all the stories into one happy ending that only a Disney film could provide with such grace.

I think the best thing about the movie was the beautiful landscape. Everything about Tuscany is filled full of beautiful rolling hills, green trees and grasses beautiful architecture. They did a nice job of showcasing the scenery and not making it just looks like an Italian black forest instead. The colors were vibrant and many times you found yourself just wanting to watch a scene just for the scenery instead of the acting.

But that doesn’t mean our acting was a downer. The lovely Diane Lane does a very nice job conveying the emotion that her character was supposed to display. The Oscar Nominated actress deserves more credit than she sometimes gets; she does a wonderful job on the big screen. But in all honesty, this flick just doesn’t pack a full punch, just doesn’t have quite enough there to make her give the greatest performance of her career.

So what is wrong with the film? I think unfortunately it suffers from lack of interesting plot, too much subplot and just not quick enough movement to keep the audience going. Also toss into the mix a lack of character development other than Diane Lanes character, and you have a cast of characters we are supposed to feel for but know next to nothing about any of them. I would be curious to see how much of the character development ended up on the cutting room floor, since it seems to be cut out of the film all together. In fact, I’m still not even sure how Frances met one of the characters. There is a good chance I may have just missed it, but it was because the introduction of characters was so subtle they were quickly forgotten about.

In the end, the real star of Under the Tuscan Sun was the beautiful scenery of Tuscany. Sadly enough though, that’s about the extent of the films real beauty. The rest of it just reeks of mediocrity and will be quickly be tossed aside and then almost out of most people’s memories completely.

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