Under the Tuscan Sun (12A)
<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5Rate this
Time Out saysHaving lost her San Francisco house in bitter divorce proceedings, book reviewer Frances (Lane) is in dire need of a pick-me-up. Packed off on a coach tour of Tuscany by supportive girlfriends, she has a Damascene moment just outside Cortona, falling for the charms of a tumbledown old villa which she buys on the spot. Supervising a raggle-taggle band of Eastern European builders through the renovation work is one new challenge, but in this loose adaptation of Frances Mayes' bestseller, she's still wondering whether she's about to gain a beautiful new home without much of a life to put in it. Hard to imagine Lane bound for sun-dried spinsterdom just yet, however, since her endlessly sympathetic central performance suggests an inner well of vivacity beneath the surface stresses of cultural difference. Her grounded and credible contribution apart, the movie struggles when called upon to do much more than photograph the inviting Tuscan landscape. Despite obviously promising material, the overwhelming blandness of the execution is dismaying. You just know Lane could bring much more juice to her rejuvenating liaison with a handsome Italian lover than she's ever allowed here.