Under the Tuscan Sun; A Review
“A Chinese poet many centuries ago noticed that to re-create something in words is like being alive twice.”
Yep, the line stuck on me after watching this romantic-comedy-drama film starring Diane Lane as Frances Mayes.
The movie is entitled Under the Tuscan Sun. It is directed by Audrey Wells and it is based on a memoir of Frances Mayes with the same title. The movie was first released on September 26, 2003.
Synopsis : a short description of the main events or ideas
The story is about a writer who got divorced and, on a whim, decided to buy a villa in Tuscany in the hopes of changing her life.
Setting and Plot
The story took place in San Franciso at the beginning and continued in Tuscany, a region in Central Italy. Frances Mayes played by Diane Lane, was enjoying his seemingly perfect life in San Francisco as a successful writer until she found out that her husband was cheating on her. She hastily filed for divorce that resulted in her depression and made her unable to write. Her best friend Patti (Sandra Oh), a pregnant lesbian, urged her to use their unused ticket to Tuscany so she can take a break and recover. She was hesitant at first until she felt more and more depressed in her apartment. She finally decided to go.
As she was with a tour group in Tuscany, she noticed a posting of villas on sale, and on their way for the tour, the bus suddenly stopped to let a flock of sheep pass. She noticed that they stopped directly in front of the villa that she saw on the posting. She took it as a sign and decided to go look into it, and after a series of events, she was able to buy it.
The villa was dilapidated and was in great need of repair. She hired a group of Polish immigrants to work on the villa. She gradually formed a relationship with the workers and made friends with her neighbors who were Italians, including an eccentric British actress, Katherine (Lindsay Duncan). Later on, she was visited by her friend Patti, who was left by her partner, and about to give birth.
Frances met an Italian guy, Marcello (Raoul Bova), and had a romantic affair, only to find out that it was but momentary. She was about to give her hopes up about love when one of the Polish workers, teenage Pawel (Pawel Sjazda) fell in love with the daughter of their neighbor. Pawel asked for her help to persuade the girl’s parents to approve of their love. She proclaimed to be Pawel’s family and the family approved of it. During the wedding of the young couple, Frances met an American writer traveling to Tuscany, and based on their attraction to each other, it points to a romantic future.
Irony/Symbols and Theme
It was a straightforward movie, heartwarming and humorous at the same time. The natural landscape was pleasing to the eyes and the simple style gave emphasis on the narrative and characters.
There was a great portrayal of the typical Italian countryside life, peaceful albeit subjected to natural disasters such as thunderstorms. Italians love socializing with neighbors and food is the center of it. The harvesting of olives, the festivals, and gatherings were part of that life.
The title signifies that Frances found a new home in Tuscany and she enjoys it. Love is an essential part of existence, but it’s not always the romantic one or our own stories that can inspire us. If we look around us, there’s more to life than heartaches and failed relationships. This movie a great watch not only for those who have had their hearts broken before but for everyone who is seeking happiness and contentment.
The main focus of the story is about taking chances. It’s about rebuilding or even restarting your life when it seemed to have ended. When Frances had the divorce, she stopped functioning properly, and both her personal and professional life were affected, but her decisions made the difference. Frances decided to buy a house on a whim but she panicked as she went through the process, but went on with it anyway. It turned out to be more than what she bargained for. She took another chance when she opened her heart to Marcello although it resulted in another heartbreak, at least she knew she’s capable of loving again. The biggest chance she took was when she decided to help Pawel and bet her name on it, not knowing what the results may be. And yet that’s when she saw that love still really exists.
Frances’ narrative shows that family is not always those related by blood or marriage and home is not always where you grew up or always been. You can also find them in faraway lands, with strangers and friends.
There may be times when we may feel at loss or scared and don’t know what to do. In these moments, what we need is to make up our minds and decide. Life is a gamble they say, so we must take a chance. In life, there are no guarantees be it career, love, or relationships. Plans don’t always go our way. Sometimes, we can’t finish what we’ve started. It’s okay to pause but never stop completely. It’s sad to fail, but the saddest thing is the failure to try. But even if we fail, at least we learn.
Take time to rest, reassess and reevaluate. Sometimes, it’s necessary to take a step back or disregard what we’ve started. What’s important is that when you are ready, start again.