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Under the Tuscan Sun

September 6, 2010

By its very nature, a romantic comedy drama attempts to transport its audience, effortlessly, from laughter to all out bawling. Under the Tuscan Sun, a movie adapted from a real life memoir of the same name, does this and more as it entertains the genres’ toughest critics. This eye popping film envelopes you immediately and takes you on a ride of emotions. The passionate performance by the cast sways and courts your senses. You are drawn into the story of 35 year old Californian author, Frances Mayes, portrayed by the ravishing Diane Lane, as she learns that her life isn’t as she had once believed. Through Frances’ masterfully spoken narrative, she explores the life she had always wanted. Her career, husband and home were uncomplicated and perfect. Soon, unexpected revelations rattle her world and her perfect existence begins to unravel right before her eyes.

As she tries to make sense of it all, Frances takes comfort in her best friend Pattie, portrayed by, comedian, Sandra Oh. In an effort to help her friend retrieve her sense of self worth and break the writer’s block that she had begun to suffer, Pattie, urges and ultimately sends a reluctant Frances on a tour of, deliciously breathtaking, Tuscany, Italy. Hilarity ensues as Frances attempts to blend in with her vibrant surroundings. She soon finds herself embarking on a journey of laughs and tears as she gets to know the locals and rationalizes buying a villa in need of major renovations. It serves to set her on a path of self discovery where she befriends many of whom she met as she renovates her new home. It is in this villa where Frances begins to understand the value and meaning of her place in this world. As she settles into her new life, Frances becomes acquainted and gets to know the lay of the land with the help of the handsome and sexy Marcello, portrayed by Raoul Bova , who, like Italy, captivates Frances and urges her to explore more of the region’s delights. Slowly, new life is breathed into a thoughtful Frances as it is revealed that the life she desires most isn’t as unobtainable as she’d once imagined.

While this delightful showing isn’t without its faults, the superb acting and heartfelt performances far outweigh any of the negatives, of which there were few. Furthermore, and contrary to the light hearted nature of the movie, an underlying message is not lost on its audience. Come prepared to be confronted with themes such as same sex relationships, single parenting and many affairs of the heart. Allow the crisp and colorful landscapes, the beautiful music, luscious foods and rich culture to arouse your senses! You’ll soon have this gem on repeat!

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