Kathleen Marcellino of Burbank is a retired property manager.
Loosely based on Frances Mayes’ best-selling memoir of the same
name, “Under the Tuscan Sun” is extraordinarily pleasurable to look
at, like a beautifully drawn and wonderfully composed work of art,
taking us on a flight of fancy with tenderly and shrewdly conceived
characters on board.
Diane Lane’s performance as Frances, a San Francisco author who
discovers her husband is cheating on her, is complex, touching and
sensitive. When divorce leaves Frances suffering from depression and
writer’s block, her best friend, Patti (Sandra Oh), gives her a free
ticket on a gay tour to the Tuscan region of Italy: “So nobody will
hit on you,” she says, reassuringly.
Frances packs her bags and travels to the tranquil and
picture-postcard-perfect town of Cortona, nestled in the unsurpassed
beauty of Tuscany, and almost immediately makes an offer on a little
villa that needs a lot of work. Trouble is, the contessa who owns it
will sell only if she gets a sign from God: A pigeon duly dive-bombs
Frances, and the deal is sealed.
What follows is pure and beautifully crafted escapism, as Frances
and a group of illegal Polish workers transform the villa into a home
of which even Martha Stewart would be proud. Along the way, Frances
does find romance with the hunky Marcello (Raoul Bova). But that’s
not the point of this movie; Frances finds love, but more
importantly, a new, fulfilling, life.
* “Under the Tuscan Sun” is rated PG-13 for sexual content and