Under the Tuscan Sun is a 2003 film American romantic comedy drama film written, produced, and directed by Audrey Wells and starring Diane Lane. Based on Frances Mayes' 1996 memoir Under the Tuscan Sun, the film is about a recently-divorced writer who buys a villa in Tuscany on a whim, hoping it will lead to a change in her life. The film was nominated for the Art Directors Guild Excellence in Production Design Award, and for her performance in the film, Diane Lane received a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actress.
Frances Mayes (Diane Lane) is a San Francisco writer whose seemingly perfect life takes an unexpected turn when she learns that her husband has been cheating on her. The divorce—and the loss of her house to her ex-husband and his much-younger, pregnant new partner—leaves her depressed and unable to write. Her best friend Patti (Sandra Oh), a lesbian who is expecting a child, is beginning to think Frances might never recover. She urges Frances to take an Italian vacation to Tuscany using the ticket she purchased before she became pregnant. At first Frances refuses, but after another depressing day in her gloomy apartment, she decides that it's a good idea to get away for awhile.
In Tuscany, her tour group stops in the small town of Cortona. After wandering through the charming streets, she notices a posting for a villa for sale in Cortona. She rejoins her tour group on the bus, and just outside of town, the bus stops to allow a herd of sheep to cross the road. While they wait, Frances realizes that they've stopped directly in front of the very villa that she had seen for sale—something she believes is a sign. She asks the driver to stop and she gets off the bus. Through a series of serendipitous events, she becomes the owner of a lovely yet dilapidated villa in beautiful Tuscany.
Frances begins her new life with the help of a variety of interesting characters and unusual but gentle souls. She hires a crew of Polish immigrants to renovate the house. Over time, Frances also befriends her Italian neighbors and develops relationships with her Polish workers, the realtor who sold her the villa, and Katherine (Lindsay Duncan), an eccentric, aging, British actress who evokes the mystery and beauty of an Italian film star. Later, she is visited by the now very pregnant Patti, whose partner Grace has left her.
Frances meets and has a brief romantic affair with Marcello (Raoul Bova), but their relationship does not last. She is about to give up on happiness when one of her Polish workers, a teenager named Pawel (Pawel Szajda), and a neighbor's young daughter come to her for help. Her father does not approve of him, yet they are very much in love and want to get married. Frances persuades the girl's family to support their love, and the young lovers are soon married at the villa. During the wedding celebration, Frances meets an American writer who is traveling in Tuscany, and their attraction for each other points to a romantic future.
- Diane Lane as Frances Mayes
- Sandra Oh as Patti
- Lindsay Duncan as Katherine
- Raoul Bova as Marcello
- Vincent Riotta as Martini
- Mario Monicelli as Old man with flowers
- Roberto Nobile as Placido
- Kate Walsh as Grace
- Pawel Szajda as Pawel
- David Sutcliffe as Ed
- Giulia Steigerwalt as Chiara
- Valentine Pelka as Jerzy
- Sasa Vulicevic as Zbignew
- Massimo Sarchielli as Nino
- Claudia Gerini as Signora Raguzzi
- Laura Pestellini as Contessa
- Don McManus as Nasty Man
- Matt Salinger as Colleague
- Elden Henson as Author
- Jack Kehler as Apartment Manager
- Kristoffer Ryan Winters as David Tour Guide
- Nuccio Siano as Gianni
- Malva Guicheney as Gianni's Daughter
- Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze, Florence, Tuscany, Italy (interiors, bank scene)
- Cinecittà Studios, Cinecittà, Rome, Lazio, Italy (bookstore, Patti & Grace's San Francisco apartment)
- Cortona, Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy
- Florence, Tuscany, Italy
- Montepulciano, Siena, Tuscany, Italy (leaving Cortona, wedding)
- Positano, Salerno, Campania, Italy
- Rome, Lazio, Italy
- San Francisco, California, USA
- Sansepolcro, Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy (flag-waving show)
- Teatro Signorelli, Cortona, Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy (interiors)
Under the Tuscan Sun opened well in the United States, grossing $9,751,425 on 1,226 screens, opening at #2 in the U.S. Box office in the weekend of September 28, 2003. This was more than half of its estimated $18 million budget. The film was a box office success earning $43,610,723 domestically and a further $15,268,000 internationally, totaling $58,878,723 worldwide.
The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 61% out of 147 professional critics gave the film a positive review, with a rating average of 6.2/10 and the critical consensus stating: "Though formulaic and superficial, Under the Tuscan Sun is redeemed by Lane's vibrant performance."
- Under the Tuscan Sun: The Unofficial Movie Site
- Under the Tuscan Sun at AllRovi
- Under the Tuscan Sun at Rotten Tomatoes
- Under the Tuscan Sun at Box Office Mojo
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