There's nothing wrong with being single. There's something wrong with not taking chances, though.
Based on the #1 New York Times best-selling book, Under The Tuscan Sun follows San Francisco writer Frances Mayes (Lane) on a ten-day trip to Tuscany. Once there, she is captivated by the beautiful Italian countryside, and impulsively buys an aging, but charming villa. Fully embracing new friends and local color, Frances finds herself immersed in a life-changing adventure filled with enough unexpected surprises, laughter, and romance to restore her new home – and her belief in second chances.
Frances Mayes' book was beautifully captured in this Audrey Wells directed/written and Diane Lane led film. The beauty of this film isn't Diane Lane's hotness as Frances, rather it's the meticulously planned transition from tragic ex-wife to solid as a rock single female. The progression of Frances from nothing to something after a horrible divorce (and eviction) really sets this film a part from other stories of its type. You can see Frances going through all these steps of molting her old life off of herself, much like a caterpillar blooming into a butterfly. It's a natural progression of real life, and a wonderful representation of human perseverance in the face of failure.
While you can argue that since this movie was based on a memoir by Frances Mayes that it might be cheating when it comes to creating a down to earth feel to it, you have to appreciate the book to screen process. Maybe it is cheating, but I've seen translations of memoirs to screen go very wrong. Hollywood, outside of The Lord of the Rings films, has a difficult time condensing anything over 120-pages into a proper film. That's why people bitch/moan about movies never living up to the books; and they have a fair argument.
The trick is to capture the right moments, in the right order and balance what's important in the books with the onscreen version. Under the Tuscan Sun did that brilliantly. It captured what was important, put it together and made sure that Frances had a proper build from beginning to end. The important part of her onscreen persona is that she fails, she goes searching, she finds, she rebuilds and redeems. While, there's no way to translate a book like this perfectly, director Audrey Wells captured what was important, and it shows in the movie. That's not an easy task.
Anyway, I like how the movie flowed. I thoroughly enjoyed Diane Lane's performance and her triumphant ending. It's neat to see her rebuild herself as her newly acquired ancient Italian home is being rebuilt. It's fun to follow, though sad at times.
With all that being said, the Blu-ray portion of the film is pretty darn good. The yellow, reds, blues and greens shine through brilliantly. You really do get a beautiful feel for the Italian countryside that she resides in. That being said, there are a few moments where the picture doesn't look so great. For example, when she is out and about with Raoul Bova's Marcello, specifically in front of the ocean, there is some visible grain to the image. It happens rarely in the film, but it does happen. For the most part, though, the film shines in HD.
The audio in the film is mastered in 5.1 DTS-HD and sports a 1.85:1 aspect ratio.
Finally, here's what you get in terms of special features:
- Deleted Scenes
- Tuscany 101
- Audio Commentary
There isn't much here, but the audio commentary from Audrey Wells and Tuscany 101 (making of) are gold! Two good items that make the movie worth watching again. The movie and features are worth the under $20 price tag.