Wednesday, April 09, 2008

MOVIE: Under The Tuscan Sun

Under The Tuscan Sun is a movie that I've seen before and enjoy more and more each time. I've been watching the Passport to Europe travel videos and thought it was the right time to revisit this movie. The views of Florence, Cortona, and Positano were beautiful, but it was the wisdom in the film was what really stood out for me this time.

Diane Lane plays Frances, a recently divorced writer who goes to Italy on a gay travel tour (Gay and Away) and ends up spontaneously purchasing a Tuscan villa. As she renovates the house, she also transforms with the people that she meets and the family that she builds. There is a free-spirited Italian lady whose outlook on life amazes Francesca:

"Fefe said you have to live spherically, in many directions. Never lose your childish enthusiasm and things will come your way."
This is advice that I also need to be given... reassurance to not succomb to external pressures to forfeit one's enlightened self.

I also like how the movie is a romance but does not follow the tired, traditional formula of introducing the eventual love interest and the movie becoming the story about their life. Under The Tuscan Sun maintains the focus on Francesca's development, and it is noted by Audrey Wells (the film's writer/director) notes in a bonus featurette that it's not until she accepts herself that Francesca can she be ready to have a man in her life.

Francesca's experience with Marcello is also endearing to me, in that although they do not end up together, it's extremely powerful how they share strong moments with each other but also recognize the limitation of their situation. They accept that it was what it was, and she is better for it.

Under The Tuscan Sun is a movie that truly takes the viewer on a journey -- dynamic, exciting, warm, and touching -- and one that I will take again many times in the future. And one day, I'll visit that beautiful place to take in the view and the wisdom first-hand.

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