Our Rating: ★★★☆☆
L Factor: Major lesbian character
Short Take: An American woman purchases a rundown Tuscan villa and finds herself.
Alternate Titles:
Year: 2003
Duration: 113 min
Language: USA, Italy/English
Director: Audrey Wells
Writer: Frances Mayes, Audrey Wells
Starring: Diane Lane, Sandra Oh, Lindsay Duncan, Raoul Bova, Vincent Riotta, Mario Monicelli, Roberto Nobile, Anita Zagaria, Evelina Gori, Giulia Steigerwalt, Pawel Szajda, Valentine Pelka, Sasa Vulicevic, Massimo Sarchielli, Claudia Gerini

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Under the Tuscan Sun

Frances (Diane Lane) is a successful San Francisco writer whose world falls apart when her husband divorces her for a younger woman. Her best friend Patti (Sandra Oh, For Your Consideration, Further Tales of the City) is concerned and gives her friend a trip to Tuscany to help her recover. Patti just became pregnant, and her partner (a physician) doesn’t want her to risk air travel in the first trimester, so Frances joins their planned gay tour of Italy as the lone straight woman.

On an impulse, Frances hops off the tour bus and buys a 300 year old, crumbling villa. Over the next year, she and a group of Polish immigrants restore the house, and she takes a few stabs at finding love again as she begins a new life in the rolling hills of Tuscany.

Frances again finds joy, fulfillment and the love of a man, but in the most unexpected places. Patti, on the other hand, arrives on Frances’ doorstep very pregnant and alone. After her partner decided that she did not want to be a parent after all, Patti runs to her best friend and finds a place to raise her baby in a very happy home.

Based on the memoir by Frances Mayes. Lane was nominated for a Golden Globe Award, and the film was nominated a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film in Wide Release. Unfortunately, it’s a rather cartoonish vision of Italy, although with a nice message about standing strong and renewing yourself. (AB)