After a heart-wrenching divorce, Frances (Diane Lane) an American writer, is offered a trip to Tuscany, Italy, by her friend Patti (Sandra Oh). Patti tells her that she needs to put the past behind her and get her life sorted out. Frances originally refuses the tickets but realising how lonely and desperate her life has become she decides to go. During her trip, Frances does the most impulsive thing she has ever done. She buys a beautiful, but dilapidated, Tuscan villa. In order to renovate the house, Frances has the challenge of dealing with a local contractor and his Polish workers and this is without much Italian never mind Polish! However, Frances’ biggest challenge is to move forward and get her life sorted out and leave the regrets of the past behind her…
The story is simple enough and doesn’t have anything new to offer. In fact not an awful lot happens in the film, it is clichéd and full of stereotypical Italian characters. But that’s not to say that the film doesn’t have something to offer. It is beautifully filmed capturing the beauty of Rome, Florence, Positano and Cortona. The country scenery of Tuscany is magnificent. The local charm and character is colourfully captured. Even the food and wine look good! It is also quite thoughtful with a warm human element. The ideas of true love and the-spirit-can-survive run through the film.
Although not fully developed there are references to religion and faith, perhaps there is the suggestion that having some religious faith will help you on your way but this is balanced by the idea of making your own luck.
Diane Lane plays a big part in lifting this film out of the ordinary. She portrays a very credible, likeable, character and emotions from uncertainty and vulnerability to courage and strength are expertly depicted. As Frances’ 300 year old house is restored the challenge to restore her self-confidence and self-identity starts.
There is good support from Lindsay Duncan who plays an English woman who befriends Frances and from Vincent Riotta an Italian lawyer who has a soft spot for Frances and who helps her settle into her new house.
The Bottom Line: Probably one for the girls and people going to Italy on their holidays! Not an awful lot to the story but the beautiful scenery and village character is very well filmed and portrayed.
- Regrets are a waste of time. They are the result of things that happened in the past and are ruining the present.
- No matter what happens don’t lose your childish innocence and enthusiasm.