Under the Tuscan Sun

September 26th, 2003


Under the Tuscan Sun

No valid json found

Still of Diane Lane, Kate Walsh and Sandra Oh in Under the Tuscan SunFrances (Diane Lane, second from right) experiences the agony and the ecstasy of remodeling her Tuscan villa with the help of contractor Nino (Massimo Sarchielli, far left), handymen Pawel (Pawel Szajda, second from left) and Jerzy (Valentine Pelka, third from right), and friend and realtor Signor Martini (Vincent Riotta, far right)Still of Diane Lane, Giulia Steigerwalt and Pawel Szajda in Under the Tuscan SunStill of Diane Lane in Under the Tuscan Sun(l to r) Giulia Steigerwalt, Diane Lane, and Sandra OhDiane Lane and Frances Mayes in Under the Tuscan Sun

While on vacation, a just-divorced writer buys a villa in Tuscany on a whim, hoping it will be the start of a change for the better in her life.

Release Year: 2003

Rating: 6.6/10 (18,030 voted)

Critic's Score: 52/100

Director: Audrey Wells

Stars: Diane Lane, Raoul Bova, Sandra Oh

After Frances's seemingly happy San Francisco marriage ends abruptly, she goes into a funk. Urged by her friends to move on, she joins a bus tour of Tuscany where, on the spur of the moment, she buys a crumbling villa. She assembles a crew of oddballs and immigrants to repair the house; over the next year, as they work, she welcomes one of her New York friends who's pregnant and at loose ends, and she seeks love, first (tenuously) with her married real estate agent, then with a charming stranger. Although life gets in the way of love, Frances's wishes come true in unexpected ways, and there's always the Tuscan sun.

Writers: Frances Mayes, Audrey Wells

Diane Lane - Frances
Sandra Oh - Patti
Lindsay Duncan - Katherine
Raoul Bova - Marcello
Vincent Riotta - Martini
Mario Monicelli - Old Man with Flowers
Roberto Nobile - Placido
Anita Zagaria - Fiorella
Evelina Gori - Nona Cardinale
Giulia Steigerwalt - Chiara
Pawel Szajda - Pawel
Valentine Pelka - Jerzy
Sasa Vulicevic - Zbignew
Massimo Sarchielli - Nino
Claudia Gerini - Signora Raguzzi

Taglines: The Only Thing More Surprising Than The Chance She's Taking...Is Where It's Taking Her

Release Date: 26 September 2003

Filming Locations: Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze, Florence, Tuscany, Italy

Box Office Details

Budget: $18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $9,751,425 (USA) (28 September 2003) (1226 Screens)

Gross: $58,878,723 (Worldwide)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Every time a group of nuns is seen on screen, they are eating: first at the market, then sitting on a terrace and finally during the wedding.

Revealing mistakes: When Frances smashes the scorpion with the boot, the scorpion remains on the wall and does not fall into her shirt (an action that forces her to jump around in her bra on the balcony).

Patti: Frances bought a house in Tuscany! And you're going to live there alone?
Frances: Well, I'm not there alone. I'm there with bugs.
Patti: Ew.

User Review

Diane Lane is Brighter Than the Tuscan Sun

Rating: 9/10

"Under the Tuscan Sun" is a polarizing film that seems to leave viewers (and critics) either in love with a story of growth and renewal or dismissive of its line. I'm firmly in the former camp.

Based so loosely on Frances Mayes's own account of her regeneration in beautiful Italy as to carry an end credit pronouncing that substantial fictionalization replaced key true details, writer and director Audrey Wells crafted a stunning vehicle for Diane Lane whose radiance projects from the screen powerfully. And in every scene.

Diane Lane, as the changed-from-the-memoir Frances, abandons San Francisco after her never shown cad husband divorces her, getting the house she once loved. Frances is a writer and literary critic. Why does she leave S.F.? Two of her closest friends give her a ticket for a gay bus tour of Italy and she jumps off the bus to look into a ramshackle old country house up for sale. Impetuosity? Definitely. Believable? Yes, actually.

Frances' new house isn't a handyman's special, it's a contractor's assurance of food on the table for a very long time. Frances adapts to the house and the locals with remarkable aplomb. Tuscany is sunny but its light fades before Frances's challenged but resilient commitment to not just restore a house but to create a home. The two aren't the same. I'm not sure how many male directors could so well create that reality.

Director Wells tells the story from a woman's heart but with a breadth of humor and drama that should appeal to anyone who wants to believe, or needs to hope, that there really is a light at the end of the tunnel of marital infidelity and dissolution.

Supporting Diane Lane is Sandra Oh as Patti, her closest friend. In relatively short scenes, Ms. Oh displays a lively and laconic grasp not only of her friend's life but also of her own which is not, as they say today, devoid of "issues."

Lindsay Duncan is Katharine, an older woman determined to hold on to her now fading attractiveness through a blend of humor, earthiness - and alcohol. Her character may be predictable but she's also fun.

Raoul Bova has garnered some press attention as handsome Marcello, the romantically available and affluent Italian. That's a character we've seen in many, many films and Bova delivers an expectedly satisfactory but hardly deep performance.

Yes, Diane Lane is beautiful but there is much more to her acting than a shining appearance. Her facial gestures, mirroring her emotions as they shift from moment to moment, are the product of extraordinary acting ability. And her character draws a powerful portrayal.

Credit also must go to cinematographer Geoffrey Simpson. Perhaps it would be impossible for a blind camera director to turn in anything but a gorgeous visage of rural and urban Italy but Simpson did do a marvelous job of making the locales come alive.

This is a film for adults, for people who can understand pain and the search for recovery and understand the difficulty of coming back from a space that once offered the mirage of safety and security.

I loved this film.



Comments are closed.