Under the Tuscan Sun
Sabrina F Ahmad
Rating: PG 13
Starring: Diane Lane, Sandra Oh, Lindsay Duncan, Raoul Bova, Pawel Szajda
Sometimes a movie comes along that really speaks to your heart and the characters in it seem like old friends. For my very good friend Diya, the experience of watching Audrey Wells' Under a Tuscan Sun was nothing less.
Based on the best-selling book by Frances Mayes, it tells the story of the author's second shot at living. Successful writer/book reviewer Frances Mayes (Lane) finds her perfect life coming to a crash when she discovers her marriage was a big lie. She gets a divorce, moves into a 'divorcees only' apartment block, and wallows in self-pity until her best friend, Patti (Oh) offers her a special gift a ten day's trip through Tuscany, Italy, to allow herself time to 'clear her mind'.
During the tour, Frances has a brief encounter with a mysterious, glamorous and sensuous British woman, which leaves her dazzled, and, on impulse, she buys a charming but rundown villa. As she begins to embrace her new life, she rediscovers joy and laughter, friendship and family.
The movie feels like a Paolo Coelho book simple, magical, and filled with a childlike sense of wonder. The romantic Italian village provides the perfect backdrop for the development for the plot, and each character is warm, quirky, and utterly lovable. The three principal women in the story are all very memorable in their own ways. Diane Lane takes to the role of Frances with a natural ease that makes you believe in her, Sandra Oh is the perfect sidekick with her quiet strength, easy wit and keen perception, and Lindsay Duncan is simply captivating in her sultry, hedonistic role of Frances' muse.
The tagline of the movie is: “Life offers you a thousand chances…all you have to do is take one”, and the story delivers that in spades. Natural acting, comfortable comic relief, and incredible videography, you couldn't ask for a better way to spend a rainy afternoon.
(R) thedailystar.net 2006