Monday, June 12, 2017

Movie Monday: Under the Tuscan Sun

Under the Tuscan Sun
When opportunity arises, I feature Movie Monday. I recognize few people have the time or desire to read the amount I do, especially when it comes to the 100 Best Novels list. Luckily, Hollywood loves adapting a classic and I love a good story in any form.

Film Title: Under the Tuscan Sun

Book Title: Under the Tuscan Sun
Release Year: 2003

Summary: A newly divorced woman heads to Italy at the insistence of her friends. There, she finds new life in a villa and the Italian community surrounding it. 

What I Thought: I totally fell in love with the memoir upon which this film is very loosely based. It was charming and engaging and left me wanting to book tickets to Tuscany immediately. 

The movie was fine, not bad. But certainly not as magical as the book. For one thing, they've totally changed the story. 

I get that. I really do. The story Frances Mayes wrote wouldn't translate well into movie form. There's no firm plot, outside of some specific home projects. She and her husband just do lots of physical labor and eat lots of amazing food. Plot flows in and out and never feels fully formed. It works as a book. As a movie, it wouldn't - at least not as a one which would make much money. It would probably be a delightful documentary in the vein of travel/food porn that saturates cable TV these days.

Here, though, we find Mayes portrayed as newly divorced and sent to Italy by her friends. The purchase of the villa is a spur of the moment thing, not something for which she and non-existent Ed have searched. She rekindles her love life, albeit with some false starts, and befriends the Polish construction workers who work on her property. There are threads of the book, to be sure, but it's really a whole other thing.

I didn't expect it to be like the book, so I felt properly prepared for what I saw. It falls into the Eat, Pray, Love world of movies for me. Half rom-com, half self-discovery. It's fine for what it is. Diane Lane is charming in it, of course. If you want to be really charmed, though, pick up the book and skip the movie. 

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Watch: No

A Reduced Review: A perfectly fine movie that bears almost no resemblance to its inspiration. If you want to be charmed by Tuscany, pick up the book. 

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