Frances Mayes is a San Francisco-based literature professor, literary reviewer and author, who is struggling in writing her latest book. Her outwardly perfect and stable life takes an unexpected turn when her husband files for divorce. He wants to marry the woman with whom he is having an affair. Frances supported her husband financially as he was writing his own book, and he sues her for alimony despite her financial difficulties. And he wants to keep the house. Frances eventually accepts her best friend Patti's offer of a vacation, a gay tour of Tuscany which Patti and her lesbian partner Grace originally purchased for themselves before Patti found out that she is pregnant. The gift is a means to escape dealing with the divorce, from which Patti feels Frances may never recover emotionally without some intervention. Feeling that Patti's assessment may be correct in that she has too much emotional baggage ever to return to San Francisco, Frances, while in Tuscany, impulsively ditches ...Written by
The visual part of Jeffrey Tambor's role as the divorce lawyer was cut from the film at Tambor's own insistence. Tambor was so impressed by Diane Lane's performance that he insisted to Audrey Wells that the scene would have more emotional impact if his character remained unseen. See more »
When the real estate agent starts the fire in the wood stove he leaves the matches, plates, and wood items on top of the stove instead of removing them. These all could catch fire in real life. See more »
Never lose your childish innocence. It's the most important thing.
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Chick Flick for the Scenery, Not for the Romance or Brains
"Under the Tuscan Sun" is a glossy chick flick with a radiant star and beautiful scenery, but that was just not enough for me to get beyond wincible dialogue and cornball situations.
Beautiful, talented Diane Lane is certainly deserving of a star vehicle and I pluncked down my full fare to be sure she gets credit for putting this fanny in a seat.
I do note that screenplay co-writer/director Audrey Wells (who played on chick flick stereotype turnabouts much more creatively in her script for "The Truth About Cats and Dogs") womanfully put some creative tweaks on creaky conventions of the genre -- the caustic best friend is a pregnant lesbian Asian-American (one of my favorite actresses, Sandra Oh, who has been so good in little Canadian dramas and as a comedienne in "Arli$$"), we don't have to meet the one-dimensional two-timing husband, the secondary stories have some different ethnic gloss, and there's a little twist in the concluding romantic expectations. Poor Lindsay Duncan being the usual eccentric Brit, stuck in Fellini fantasies, complete with a ridiculous Anita-Ekberg-in-the-fountain imitation.
We get only a hint of real Italian men's machismo as yet again in movies a fantasy Mediterranean clime is used to loosen up an Anglo's sensuality (as Lane gloriously exults in a funny salute to herself: "I've still got it!")-- is this now a tourist marketing ploy? Even a festival is thrown in for literal local color for no other particular reason.
With the male eye candy here not even given any interesting characterization, I tolerated sitting through it more restlessly than even recent weak chick flicks "Alex and Emma" and "Maid in Manhattan."
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