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Under the Tuscan Sun
DVD disk
Oct 8, 2004 By: JaneBlo
Under the Tuscan Sun order
Director:
Audrey Wells

Actors:
Diane Lane
Sandra Oh
Raoul Bova

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Based on the New York Times best selling book, Under the Tuscan Sun stars actress Diane Lane as San Francisco writer Frances Mayes who is searching for her happiness and her place in life after a bitter divorce. This search leads her to Tuscany, where, on the spur of the moment, she decides to buy a Tuscan villa and settle in. Set in the beautiful Italian countryside, Frances fully immerses herself in the local culture, people and even begins dating local men.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
This film is solid and very much unlike your typical bubble-gum, cutesy happily-ever-after romantic comedies that we have seen in the past. It is more realistic because, for one thing, the beautiful girl (Lane) does not meet the man of her dreams as soon as she gets to Tuscany (which is what I was expecting, having seen it in many other formula movies.) This was a refreshing change. Drama, humor and excellent acting are also a big part of this film, but some would say that its locations are its star. Without a doubt, the gorgeous Italian countryside is to die for, Frances villa makes you want to move there yourself and overall, the cinematography is excellent. The supporting actors are also worth mentioning, in particular, the talented Sandra Oh and Lindsay Duncan who both play dear friends.

The humorous moments in this film are touching as well. One character, in particular, was my favorite: the old man with the flowers. He turns out to be a sweetheart in the end and the interaction between Frances and him is sweet. Last not but least, for you types out there who like some eye candy, Ms. Lane is as always very beautiful and for the ladies, there are enough Italian (and Polish) babes in this film to keep any healthy girl satisfied. Which brings me to the end of the film, an ending which I enjoyed, did not fully expect, and learned from. Poignant words of wisdom are sprinkled throughout the movie, and by the way, I dont consider this an exclusively chick flick, even if it does star a woman! I would, however, say its a definite couples flick.
THE EXTRAS
The only real substance on this DVD is a short featurette entitled Tuscany 101 which features interviews with the cast and the filmmaker about the making of the film. I found it enlightening and enjoyed hearing about the different towns in Italy which were the location shoots-- as I plan on visiting them one day. Not that long or elaborate however, for those of you looking for in-depth exploration of the films behind the scenes. We also get a glimpse of author Frances Mayes, whose book this film is based on. A scanty 3 deleted scenes, only one of which was worth seeing (Discovering the Fresco), are also included. And finally, if you're into commentary tracks, the audio commentary by director and screenwriter Audrey Wells is well worth checking out. It really interested me as it was insightful, informative and even entertaining, at times. I learned a lot from listening to her commentary, she is well-spoken and the track itself, well-paced.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Despite the film being, in my opinion, one of the better romantic comedies of last year, the extras are quite weak, so one should not expect much in that department. Of course, any real fan of either Diane Lane, romantic comedies or Tuscany is sure to nab this for their collection anyway. An overall heart-warming, sweet and enjoyable film, a delight to see Diane Lane on screen again in such a gorgeous setting. A perfect DVD gift for Valentines day, ideal for lovers or those in search of them.
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