A patronizing, eye-rolling romantic fantasy aimed at lonely middle-aged women, "Under the Tuscan Sun" stars the luminous Diane Lane (its only saving grace) as a heartbroken novelist licking her wounds from a surprise divorce (the husband she put through school has left her for a younger woman) by traveling to the therapeutic Italian countryside.
Surrounded by colorful eccentrics with sexy accents who serve up allegorical fables and Hallmark-card advice ("Always keep your childish innocence!"), our heroine Frances Mayes follows a whim while on vacation and buys a picturesquely run-down old villa to renovate as a life-affirming metaphor.
Even as she frets that "There's three bedrooms -- what if there's never anyone to sleep in them?," we know there's a strapping, wavy-haired hunk with piercing eyes (Raoul Bova) waiting for her on a beach somewhere who appreciates the charms of 40-ish American women seeking validation of their desirability. And we know that while, for the sake of dramatic structure, he may not be the right guy for her (those philandering Italians!), she's learning to live by the motto "I looked for it but I didn't find it. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist!"
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