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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Movie Review:Under The Tuscan Sun

Are you enjoying yourself?

Premise:A divorced writer buys a villa in Italy.

Cast:Diane Lane as Frances Mayes, Sandra Oh as Patti, Lindsay Duncan as Katherine, Raoul Bova as Marcello, Vincent Riotta as Mr. Martini, Pawel Szajda as Pawel, Giulia Steigerwalt as Chiara

Director:Audrey Wells

MPAA Rating:PG-13 for sexual content and language

Genres:Romance, drama

Notes:Poster taken from IMP Awards.

Pros:Honest pain. The acting.

Cons:The teen romance.


If you found out your husband was cheating on you and wanted a divorce, how would you react? Would you spend time in Italy on the trip your friend offered you? That's what Frances decides to do.

Here, the pain of breaking up with someone isn't downplayed or glossed over. It clearly hurts the characters when their partners leave them and for the most part, this is not played for laughs. The acting is not bad either.

One thing I dislike is the teen romance. This ends up being the big love story of the movie. A pair of teenagers who just met are all over each other and saying they'll die if they can't be together. It's not exactly compelling unless you like that kind of romance. Also, the parents are very cynical, saying love doesn't exist and all that. None of that fits well with the rest of the film.

All in all, it's an emotional movie that's good for these warm summer nights.

12/27/2016 update:You probably know.

Sex:One of Frances's students asks if he can French kiss her now. She says he can't because she's married. A man asks if Frances cooks nude; she jokes "Never nude. Always in a thong." A man says he finds it ironic that Frances doesn't like a book about a man living out teenage sexual fantasies. When asked why, he says "Ask your husband." Shortly after, she finds out her husband is cheating on her and wants a divorce. She also realizes his lover is pregnant, though she doesn't say it out loud.
Frances initially declines the offer from her friend Patti and her girlfriend to go on a romantic tour of Tuscany. At least until she's told it's mostly for gay couples. She's also told flirting is a ritual in Italy; she should just enjoy it. When a scorpion gets into her shirt, she screams and pulls off her clothes (down to her bra) just as a family with kids walks by. There's a close-up of a woman's cleavage so we can get a look at her necklace. A nude statue of a man appears in the background. A man tells Frances she needs to stop looking so sad because if she doesn't, he'll have to make love to her and he wants to stay faithful to his wife. Frances also says she's tired of shaky guys staring at her, thinking who-knows-what, and saying things she's glad she doesn't understand.
At a dinner, one of the guests wonders if Frances is celibate. When she says it has been a while, someone explains he means is she married.  Someone asks if Frances has a consort, and when asked back, she laughs "One?" Grandma cries because her online boyfriend broke up with her after she told him her age.
Three guys follow Frances and shout at her. She grabs a stranger and pretends he's her husband. The two talk for a while, go to the beach, and eventually have sex. Onscreen, they're showing kissing passionately and stripping off each other's clothes (he's shirtless, she's in a bra). After the fact, she dances around, happy she's still able to attract non-creepy men. A teen couple makes out in their underwear. Frances is pretty mad that they "did it" in her bed, since even she doesn't do that in her bed. A man tells a woman he's going to make love all over her. In the morning, she touches parts of his body and asks what they're called, eventually reaching for his crotch.
Patti checks out acrobatic guys in tights and remarks "These are straight men." Katherine appears with only boas covering the essentials. An art student who's in a thong is with her. She strokes his butt.

Violence:A lightning storm strikes frighteningly close to the villa and fries a washing machine. An angry Frances throws things on the floor and breaks a vase. She squishes a scorpion with a shoe. A boy is hit on the head. A wall collapses. Frances lists expenses and adds a rental car to drive off a cliff. She tells Patti she could have tied up or physically disabled a man. A man says maybe Frances will knock him out and steal his car, but he's willing to take the chance. Frances's American landlord jokes she can help the other tenants write their suicide notes. A guy runs into a wall. Someone tells a story about a martyr that was cooked; he joked "Turn me over, I'm done on this side."

Language:One use each of "f**k" and "g*dd**n". Also "G*d", "J*sus", "sh*t", "bas**rd", "h*ll", "d**n", and "d*ke".

Drugs/Alcohol:Social drinking happens throughout. A couple of guys smoke. A doctor in the apartment complex where Frances and other divorcees live reportedly hands out sleeping pills. Frances herself finds a large number of wine bottles on her new property. She also entertains herself while drunk. A man is asked if someone is drunk as she dances in a fountain; he replies "I hope so."

Spiritual:Images of Mary are seen throughout. Frances states she and the saint are getting surprisingly close, considering she isn't Catholic. There are other references to Christianity, as well as a few to Roman and Greek myths.
When the house's owner tells Frances she won't sell without a sign, Frances says she understands because she also believes in signs. A couple marries in a religious ceremony.


So what did you think of it?

© 2014 by M.R.R.

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