Vincent Riotta

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Under the Tuscan Sun Review


Weak
I would have never thought Diane Lane's performance as an adulterous wife in Adrian Lyne's Unfaithful would have earned her an Oscar nomination, let alone become the role that vaulted her career. Before Unfaithful, Lane played predominately background roles; now, she is a sexy Hollywood leading lady. Under the Tuscan Sun is carried almost exclusively by Lane, and while the signs clearly indicate she has the gift for such an undertaking, she's never given a chance to explore that potential in this film.

Lane plays San Francisco book critic and writer Frances Mayes (a real person who looks nothing like Diane Lane), whose recent divorce has sent her life into a tailspin. Recognizing that a change in scenery may be just the thing Frances needs, her newly pregnant best friend Patti (Sandra Oh) gives her a 10-day vacation in Tuscany, Italy. While on her tour, Frances impulsively buys a dilapidated villa called Bramasole, with the hopes of eventually turning it into a place where her own life can flourish once again. With the help of a friendly local real estate agent Señor Martini (Vincent Riotta), Frances secures a Polish construction crew to assist in the renovation of her new home.

Continue reading: Under the Tuscan Sun Review

Under The Tuscan Sun Review


Grim

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!"

Continue reading: Under The Tuscan Sun Review

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