Article Written By: Lucia Marginean
Starring: Diane Lane, Raoul Bova, Sandra Oh, Vincenzo Ricotta, Linday Duncan
Written and directed by Audrey Wells
Produced by: Touchstone Pictures
Music: Christophe Beck
Released: September 2003
Running Length: 1:50
You can always start over.
Just take one of the million chances life brings you.
Inspired by Frances Mayes’ bestseller, “Under The Tuscan Sun” tells the story of a woman who travels to Tuscany in search of a new life. What may sound like an unfathomable idea, becomes the most inspiring decision. Sometimes, bad ideas just seem bad because they stretch us too far. The ideas appear impossible. Well, according to Frances Mayes, that’s just not so.
There are many people around us for whom the impossible is just lack of vision, maybe lack of imagination. Just think about the famous comment that Isabel, Queen of Spain, made to Christopher Columbus: “Sail ahead, and if the land you are looking for doesn’t exist yet, be sure that God will create it on purpose to repay your boldness.”
The movie takes us on a wonderful journey of self-discovery, by following the true story of a 30-year-old writer and book critic, Frances Mayes (Academy Award nominee Diane Lane), whose friend Patti offers her a free ten-day trip to the Italian countryside.
After some deliberation, Frances decides to burn the bridges that weigh her down – including the drama of a painful divorce. “I have to stop being afraid all the time,” she finally says to herself. With that spark setting her off, Frances embarks on her exciting trip to Italy where she makes new friends, finds love, and ultimately reinvents herself against the backdrop of magical, romantic Tuscany.
“Believe in signs and learn to recognize them. They are like bread crumbs that lead you along the way.”
This is what Frances hears and absorbs into her new life. A “sign” tells her to buy Bramasole, an old, broken down villa, with a history and beauty uniquely its own. Bramasole means “yearning for the sun.” Just like the house, Frances is beautiful and romantic, touched by life’s mysteries. Both Frances and the villa “yearn for the sun.”
The beginnings of the Tuscan adventure are marked by fear (more like awe), loneliness, and a storm that adds to the damage of the house. But the storm brings Frances closer to the spirit of the house as she finds herself sheltered by its walls. In the glorious sunshine of the next morning, Frances awakens with a fresh determination to make this new life and new place work.
As things begin to roll, friendships develop and she gains more confidence. Frances comes to realize that “things do happen for a reason.” All we need to do is keep building and creating, and these “reasons” become clearer as life moves ahead. In the film, we learn that the Semmering railroad was built over the Alps even before there was a train in existence. They did it to connect Vienna and Venice because they knew someday the train would come. The metaphor is clear, the road is there.
All you need is courage and faith to embrace change and take the first step.
One of the most valuable lessons found in this movie is to stay open to new possibilities. Listen to your inner voice and empower yourself with energy, confidence, and zest. Explore, feel, and don’t be afraid. Leave it to Patti, who with a tongue-in-cheek wisdom of her own, asks Frances, “How are you ever going to be happy if you keep wallowing?”
The characters in this movie are absolutely delightful. Diane Lane’s performance is warm and natural, a style that has always been her trademark. Of the supporting actors, Sandra Oh brings a light, real-life touch to the story, by making Patti outspoken and sensitive to her inner core. Meanwhile, Raoul Bova plays the rugged and handsome Marcello, the first Italian man with whom Frances has a “classic” Italian affair.
Watching “Under The Tuscan Sun” touched my heart, as I could relate to many situations that the character herself was going through. The breathtaking scenery from Cortona to Positano, the pastoral countryside abounding with cypress trees and green hills, and the spectacular Alps make you simply love the movie.
The movie not only shows the beauty of the Italian countryside with the amazing fields of poppies and sunflowers, but you also get to see the beauty inside people’s hearts and the journey that it takes to reach your soul. You walk away from this film with a warm smile and a warm heart.
You can watch the movie trailer here: