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Bams' review of
Under The Tuscan Sun


Under The Tuscan Sun (2003)
Rated PG-13; running time 115 minutes
Studio: Touchstone Pictures
Genre: Romantic Dramedy
Seen at: Eastwood Neighborhood Cinema Group (Lansing, Michigan)
Official site:
IMDB site:
Written by: Audrey Wells (Based on the book by Frances Mayes)
Directed by: Audrey Wells
Cast: Diane Lane, Sandra Oh, Raoul Bova, Lindsay Duncan, Vincent Riotta, Pawel Szajda

Review Copyright Rose Cooper, 2003

(click here to skip to this movie's rating)

You Know Your Movie's Dull...when the only thing that comes to mind when trying to write a review of it, is how you keep mispronouncing part of its title as if it were a town in Arizona.

THE STORY (WARNING: **spoilers contained below**)
Sometime-writer Frances Mayes (Diane Lane) experiences a drastic upheaval when her husband announces he wants a divorce. Thinking they were safely in love, Mayes is unprepared for this, and sinks into depression. Wanting Frances to recover from her post-divorce nightmare, her friend Patti (Sandra Oh) arranges for Frances to go on a trip to Tuscany (Patti neglects to tell Frances it's a romantic trip for gay couples that Patti and her girlfriend had planned to use, but such things are part of Patti's charm).

While on her trip, Frances encounters the eccentric Katherine (Lindsay Duncan), and is immediately drawn to her - and to the town. On a whim, Frances decides to buy a run-down Tuscan villa, out of the blue, from Mr. Martini (Vincent Riotta) and his mother. Right away, Frances wonders if she's made a mistake, but with Martini's help, she recruits a few handymen to help her restore her home. And quite unexpectedly, she finds Marcello (Raoul Bova), who - hope against hope - may be the one to help her restore her heart.

I'm hoping that my malaise about movies like Under The Tuscan Sun isn't a sign of xenophobia against movies set outside of the US. Let's see: I felt roughly the same way about The Talented Mr. Ripley, while I liked (though never got around to writing a review for) Chocolat. Hmmm...maybe it's just Displaced Amerkins In Ferrin Lands that I just can't get with.

Nah, it's something else, I think: the older I get, the less tolerant I am of people's bad choices. And the movie version of Frances Mayes (the real Mayes' Tuscan adventures reportedly barely resembles those of her movie counterpart) made one bad choice after another. Perhaps if this movie was more balanced on the Comedy part of Dramedy, I could've lived with it. But as presented, left the theater with a bad case of eye-rolling, on top of one big yawn.

I'm willing to believe it's Just Me; that Tuscany, and Italy in general, just don't appeal to me. But neither the supposedly pretty landscapes, nor the beautiful Diane Lane, moved me like they should've. I did dig a few of her co-stars and their characters a bit, though. As Frances' best friend Patti, Sandra Oh gave Sun the right amount of humor without being the Obnoxious Comic Relief. The young love subplot between Pawel and Chiara was sweet, mostly because of the innocent exuberance of Pawel Szajda. Was I the only one who was disappointed that Mr. Martini (played by the charming Vincent Riotta) was married, and thus, unable to partake of Frances' favors? And to its credit, Sun didn't have the rote Happy Ending that you'd expect from such a movie.

But still, I'm left with not much more than an "okay...and?".

Hey, can I still be a Chick if I don't dig chick flicks?


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And that's the way I see it.

Rose "Bams" Cooper
3BlackChicks Review™
Copyright Rose Cooper, 2003
EMAIL:    ICQ: 7760005

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More 3BlackChicks™ review(s) for this week:
(movies reviewed through 9/26/03):

Bams' reviews:
Duplex | Under The Tuscan Sun

The Diva's reviews:
The Rundown

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