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A Reel Life film section

Summer 2004

Under the Tuscan Sun (2003) movie review

New Life in the Old World

Writer and reviewer Frances is blind-sided by a writer to whom she gave a poor review. His revelation that her husband is unfaithful propels her into a new life -- at first, warehoused in a building of furnished apartments for divorcees and then, renovating and living in a small Tuscan villa and becoming involved in the lives of her neighbours and renovators.

Under the Tuscan Sun, narrated by Frances, is a story of regrowth. Frances begins her story shocked by an unfaithful husband who ends up with the house and asks for alimony. She is stunned into a withdrawn life punctuated by the crying of the man in the next apartment, but enlightened by the concern of lesbian friends Patti and Grace (Sandra Oh and Kate Walsh).

Movie poster, Under the Tuscan Sun; Festivale film review

Movie poster, Under the Tuscan Sun
The Only Thing More Surprising Than The Chance She's Taking...Is Where It's Taking Her

When they send her on a gay trip through Tuscany, Frances' friends cannot expect that they will receive a phone call telling them that she has bought a slightly decrepit villa and plans to do it up.

For Frances the writer, her new home offers insights into the lives of those around her -- the Polish workmen, the olive farmers who teach her to harvest the fruit, Placido the estate agent, and Katherine (Lindsay Duncan), once an actress for Fellini who lives her life as fully as possible.

This film is a glimpse into lives other than Frances', which gives it added depth. We follow Frances in her first tentative steps back into a love life, just as we watch the first blossoming of the love between the farmer's daughter and the young Polish labourer.

Under the Tuscan Sun is delightful and heartwarming, a promise that recovery is a matter of stepping back into life, and that there is richness waiting for those who are generous enough to share their lives, and in the lives of others. Recommended.

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by Ali Kayn
Due for Australian release 12 Feb 2004
For credits and official site details, see below
Search Festivale for more work by the film-makers below.

See also: Must Love Dogs

Just the facts:

Title: Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)
Written by: Frances Mayes (book) Audrey Wells (screen story)
Directed by: Audrey Wells
running time: 113 mins

The Players: Diane Lane, Sandra Oh, Lindsay Duncan,

Official website:
IMDb entry

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