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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate warm-glow movie
There are so many reviews already for this 2003 movie that I didn't think one more was necessary, however, I have read so much unjust criticism of the film with regard to stereotypes and the Italian characters that I thought perhaps a few home facts from an Italian native might be in order (and I will try my hardest not to give away the plot). For a start, the portrayal...
Published on 3 Jun 2012 by Dolphin

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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bucket full of sunshine
Really enjoyed this film. It's true what another reviewer says that it does not really follow the plot of the semi-autobiagraphical wonderful book by Frances Mayes which I would urge everyone to read (and also the sequel-"Bella Tuscany"). But it's pure escapism. Beautiful scenery and beautiful people. If you want to watch a film which will take you away from the dull...
Published on 21 Feb 2005


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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate warm-glow movie, 3 Jun 2012
By 
Dolphin (Stuck inside a cloud) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Under The Tuscan Sun [DVD] [2003] [2004] (DVD)
There are so many reviews already for this 2003 movie that I didn't think one more was necessary, however, I have read so much unjust criticism of the film with regard to stereotypes and the Italian characters that I thought perhaps a few home facts from an Italian native might be in order (and I will try my hardest not to give away the plot). For a start, the portrayal of the people is very well done, although it certainly shows Italians mostly on their best behaviour, but still very accurate. They are generally helpful, friendly and quick to accept Americans and other foreigners especially if the "stranieri" appear to sincerely appreciate a different lifestyle and don't focus entirely on the inefficiencies and shortcomings that go along with it. The scene in the notary's office is a very good example. The deal is done in a competent way but with a good dose of humanity. The people in the street scenes are as authentic as can be, they are Cortona residents and, unsurprisingly, speak with the local accent. The building crew are Polish and that explains their accents.

I was amazed to find so much venom directed at the Marcello character. His behaviour became perfectly understandable if one grasped the fact that months had elapsed between their initial meeting and the later one. The parade of potential builders is obviously meant to be a comic caricature of personalities, but it really doesn't stray too far from the truth. I have met people just like them. In fact, all the characters in the movie are fairly believable, the single exception being Ed, who (even considering his limited role) is completely wooden and exhibits the personality of the proverbial door-knob.

I detest the term "chick flick" and this film does not deserve it. I think the story was handled with such a soft, restrained hand that it was misinterpreted as being lightweight, when in fact it dealt undramatically with many human dramas. Not everything has to be guts and gore to be heart-felt. I thought Diane Lane gave a perfectly nuanced performance, her character suffered a great deal and yet she tried to handle the collapse of her marriage and ultimately her entire life in a dignified and adult way. Any sensitive person would feel her distress, no histrionics needed. The many supporting actors also gave warm, masterfully well-judged performances; particularly good, in my opinion, were Vincent Riotta, Lindsay Duncan and Pawel Szajda.

The single failing of the film might be that grasping a random opportunity and rebuilding a happy life out of the ruins of your previous one is too often a dream that does not come true, but I will never complain about an optimistic and uplifting viewpoint. It certainly beats the current fixation with wallowing in the ugliest and vilest possible view of mankind which so-called "serious" film makers try to pass off as gritty realism.

The photography is of the highest level, the Tuscan countryside and Positano coastline appear in all their glory (even off-season) and Audrey Wells did a great job of the screenplay and direction, despite the obvious technical challenges of adapting a book to the wide screen and, apparently, a tight budget. And finally, contrary to another common complaint, my OH and I both enjoy watching this beautiful production and do so at regular intervals whenever we need a bit of cheering up and a virtual visit to the Tuscany we know and love.
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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bucket full of sunshine, 21 Feb 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Under The Tuscan Sun [DVD] [2003] [2004] (DVD)
Really enjoyed this film. It's true what another reviewer says that it does not really follow the plot of the semi-autobiagraphical wonderful book by Frances Mayes which I would urge everyone to read (and also the sequel-"Bella Tuscany"). But it's pure escapism. Beautiful scenery and beautiful people. If you want to watch a film which will take you away from the dull english weather and enable you to dream a little then this is the choice for you. Simpatico!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing like the book, 9 Jun 2005
By 
Paula Hill "minkusmum" (Fontanivent, CH) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Don't bother to see this film if you appreciated the book on which it is based. It has taken a story about a love affair with a house in Tuscany and turned it into a fairly average romance involving an American woman and a good looking Italian. Ed (who is the "hero" of the book) is relegated to a brief appearance at the end and half of the story is transported to the Amalfi coast, which is nowhere near Tuscany.
However, the scenery is beautiful, so if all you want is an undemanding film for a Saturday night you could do worse than to snuggle up and dream with this one.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Looking for ladybugs, 31 July 2004
By 
Joseph Haschka (Glendale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN, based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Frances Mayes, is one of those fantasies of escape likely to appeal to those leading lives of quiet desperation.
Diane Lane plays Frances, who's just undergone a bitter divorce made more insulting by the fact that ex-hubbie buys out her share of the house using money supplied by his new woman. Frances moves into an apartment block that specializes in sheltering the recently divorced. The lawyer next door sobs a lot. Then, two of Frances's lesbian friends gift her with a ticket for a tour of Tuscany. So, off she goes, ultimately to impulsively purchase a run-down villa in the hill town of Cortona. Mayes spends the rest of the story overseeing the restoration of her new digs by a local contractor employing three expatriate Poles, and searching for a new lease on Love.
My wife liked this film more than I, but admitted it's a chick flick. I'm giving it four stars chiefly because both Diane Lane and the Italian locations are gorgeous. The whole point of the film is to get the demoralized Frances to the point where she can again say, "I'm emotionally OK and ready to boogie." A disclaimer in the ending credits states that some characters were altered to enhance the dramatic action. Perhaps buffed up too much in some cases, and not enough in others.
For me, the film would have been a much better story had it focused on Frances, the villa's reconstruction, and the engaging personalities of the Poles (Pawel Szajda, Valentine Pelka, and Sasa Vulicevic), and created a relationship with her helpful real estate agent, the sensitive and maturely handsome Martini (Vincent Riotta). However, the screenwriters have Frances involved in too many other subplots requiring an excess of supporting players. There's Katherine (Lindsay Duncan), a flamboyant ex-actress and Fellini protege, who's only purpose in the storyline seems to be to dance in a fountain and advise on how to find men, in this case equated with ladybugs - essentially, "lie down in the grass and let them come to you". Then there's gay pal Patti (Sandra Oh), who shows up to have a baby. And hunky Marcello (Raoul Bova), straight off the lurid cover of some bodice-ripper, who admittedly goes a long way in restoring Mayes's sexual self-esteem. (My wife thought Marcello totally necessary to the plot.) Indeed, one of the best scenes has Mayes doing a private victory dance to celebrate the fact that she's still "got it."
Diane Lane's last outing (UNFAITHFUL) garnered her a well-deserved Oscar nomination. Her role in UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN is nowhere near to being as accomplished a performance. But for this viewer, who's been in love with Ms. Lane since her appearance in 1989's LONESOME DOVE as the sweetly vulnerable prostitute Lorena, it more than sufficed as an endorphin fix.
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53 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An uplifting film, 30 April 2006
This review is from: Under The Tuscan Sun [DVD] [2003] [2004] (DVD)
Do you believe in signs? I do...Under the Tuscan Sun is a film about where you would be if you take a different step, if you meet a different person, if you take a different corner...

This film also brings a bit of everything we like to talk about: destiny, love, friendship, disappointment, affair, healing, travelling, tourists, locals, and so on.

It is a film that talk about many things and doesn't dissapoint but on the contrary everything the team puts to create it makes perfect sense so you want to watch it over again and again. Conclusion, it is a must-seen and it should be in your shopping list.

A bit about the film...a very enjoyable film about a writer who buys an old house in Italy and changes her life after her divorce. It is full of colour and signs. With very interesting caracters and episodes.

It is very different from the book but it rescues the essence of what the writer was trying to share with us. We write our own destiny and we have to let ourselves follow those signs.
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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely film for all ages, 26 May 2006
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This review is from: Under The Tuscan Sun [DVD] [2003] [2004] (DVD)
This is the sort of film that makes you want to leave the busy and often stressful everyday living in a city and go to a small and tranquil village in southern europe. The picure is very good and the screenplay is excellent. This is a great film for people of all ages
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If you've read the book don't watch this film.., 4 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Under The Tuscan Sun [DVD] [2003] [2004] (DVD)
.. And if you haven't watched the film, don't, read the book!

The book on which this film is supposedly based was a joy to read and giving a rich taste of the experience of a happy and intelligent American couple renovating a house in Tuscany over many years and falling in love with the region, it's food and its culture. It is poetically and sensitively written and explores the changes in the writer's life over time and how the experience positively impacts her and her husband over time.

The film is a joke. It is a Disneyfied, sugarcoated, two dimensional load of nonsense that I am trying to purge from my memory. The only similarity to the book is the title allowing the producers to ride the wave of commerciality driven by the books success. I can only hope that Frances Mayes, the author, received her 30 pieces of silver for the film rights. Anyone right minded person seeing the film will want to avoid the book like the plague, which is a great loss.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars enchanting, 28 April 2012
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This review is from: Under The Tuscan Sun [DVD] [2003] [2004] (DVD)
this is a must for every divorce woman to show that life does indeed go on . the views of italy are amazing to say the least . a very good story line captivating keeps your attention . any true d.i.y. person will truly understand the going on around the house . passionate demanding the friendship bonds are truly pushed and pulled but are bound in the end. perseverance wins
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Under the Tuscan Sun, 27 April 2012
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This review is from: Under The Tuscan Sun [DVD] [2003] [2004] (DVD)
This is a wonderful film set in beautiful Tuscany. It is lovely to watch at any time and creates a
lovely atmosphere. Diane Lane plays a great role and is a brilliant choice for this part.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely charming!, 28 Mar 2014
By 
Alison Petrie - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Under The Tuscan Sun [DVD] [2003] [2004] (DVD)
Going to put my hand up here and say that I am a hopeless romantic, a huge lover of all things Italian and I like Diane Lane as an actress. I haven’t read the book by Frances Mayes but the film “Under the Tuscan Sun” is absolutely enchanting. First saw it in the cinema around 2003, fell in love with it, have watched it several times since and have lost count of the number of times I have recommended it to other people.

The bare bones are writer finds out her husband wants a divorce, he gets to keep the house, writer gets depressed (understandably), goes on holiday to Italy and buys a derelict villa on a whim. The film covers the writer’s renovation of the villa, the craziness of life in Italy, absolutely breathtaking scenery, a great cast of characters and a happy ending.

The film is also a great advertisement for the sheer physical beauty of Italy and, personally, I feel that it captures the essence of Italy (every time we go there, my partner is amazed at the chaos) and the big hearts of its inhabitants. "Under the Tuscan Sun" simply lifts the spirits and I defy anyone to watch this and not immediately want to go to Italy for a holiday!
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Under The Tuscan Sun [DVD] [2003] [2004]
Under The Tuscan Sun [DVD] [2003] [2004] by Audrey Wells (DVD - 2004)
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