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(2003) (Diane Lane, Sandra Oh) (PG-13)

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Romantic Comedy: A recent American divorcée ends up buying an old villa that she starts to rebuild, along with her life, when she visits Tuscany.
Frances Mayes (DIANE LANE) is a 35-year-old San Francisco writer and literary critic who's just learned that her husband wants a divorce and alimony that will force her to give up her half of the house. Sensing her depression, Frances' pregnant lesbian friend, Patti (SANDRA OH) and her lover decide to give her their travel package for a tour of Tuscany, Italy.

Frances initially doesn't want to go, but eventually decides to. While on a bus tour near Cortona, she sees that an old villa is for sale. Acting on a whim and a bit of fate, she decides to purchase the 300-year-old place and meets realtor Mr. Martini (VINCENT RIOTTA) in the process. With the place needing some heavy duty renovations, he helps her hire a local contractor and his crew of Polish workers, including Pawel (PAWEL SZADJA), who's sweet on a local girl, Chiara (GIULIA STEIGERWALT).

As that occurs, Frances gets to know other locals, including the flamboyant Brit Katherine (LINDSAY DUNCAN) who was discovered as a child by Federico Fellini, and Roman businessman Marcello (RAOUL BOVA) with whom she has a bring fling that reinvigorates her. As she sets out to rebuild her new home, she unknowingly begins to rebuild her life and find happiness under the Tuscan sun.

If they're fans of the novel, romantic comedies set in foreign lands or anyone in the cast, they just might.
For sexual content and language.
  • DIANE LANE plays a divorced writer who hesitantly travels to Tuscany where she ends up buying a villa that she tries to fix up, much like her life. She uses some profanity (some of it briefly strong), drinks and has sex with Marcello.
  • SANDRA OH plays her pregnant lesbian friend who initially sends her off to Tuscany for some R&R and then joins her when her partner dumps her. She uses some profanity.
  • RAOUL BOVA plays an Italian businessman who sweeps Frances off her feet, sleeps with her, but then becomes frustrated by life and circumstances getting in the way of them being a couple.
  • VINCENT RIOTTA plays the local realtor who befriends Frances and helps her buy her villa.
  • LINDSAY DUNCAN plays a British expatriate who's filled with philosophical advice and still revels in the fact that filmmaker Federico Fellini discovered her long ago.
  • PAWEL SZADJA plays a Polish laborer who helps rebuild Frances' home and is sweet on Chiara, but is reluctant to ask her to marry him due to her father not approving of him.
  • GIULIA STEIGERWALT plays the young girl who fools around with him.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this drama that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 1 "f" word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are used. Some sexually related dialogue occurs, as do several sensual sexual encounters (with kissing, heavy breathing, implied just off camera oral sex, implied intercourse and various stages of undress). Various women are seen in various forms of revealing attire, including one who's nude except for a frilly accouterment that covers the explicit parts.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, while some smoke and others drink (one to the point of appearing inebriated). Thematic elements involve divorce and a lesbian couple about to have a child. A few moments (involving some creeps, a snake and a thunderstorm) might be a bit unsettling for more sensitive viewers.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

  • Frances and others have wine.
  • Frances and Patti's lover have champagne (Patti does not because she's pregnant).
  • Frances and others have wine on their tour bus.
  • We see lots of empty wine bottles that Frances finds in her new place.
  • Frances has wine.
  • We see wine in various shots of a montage showing meals.
  • Frances has some sort of lemon-based liquor that Marcello gives her.
  • A worker drinks wine from the bottle.
  • We see wine on a table.
  • Katherine has a drink. Later, she's apparently drunk while standing in a public fountain (a person asks if she's drunk and another replies that they hope so) and later comments that there's nothing like a fountain and a magnum of champagne to put things right again.
  • Various people have champagne.
  • People have wine with dinner.
  • Bird excrement lands on Frances (and is viewed by an older woman as a good sign).
  • An author makes a disparaging remark about Frances' husband and her essentially being the husband's fantasy (or something along those lines).
  • We hear that Frances' husband had an affair (but we never see him other than in a picture).
  • An apartment manager jokingly tells Frances that since she's a writer, she can help the other tenants (also going through divorces) write their suicide notes.
  • A man is not appreciative of Frances' help in writing a postcard for his mom.
  • Some young kids shoot spitballs at others in a movie theater.
  • Three men in Rome clap upon seeing Frances and then follow her through the streets (in a lecherous sort of fashion) as she tries to get away from them (she eventually uses a stranger, Marcello, as a decoy).
  • Chiara's father doesn't approve of her seeing Pawel due to his ethnicity. Later, he won't agree to Pawel asking for her hand in marriage, going on to say that he's a nobody (he later changes his mind).
  • Seeing a flag flying festival, a woman comments that they're seeing straight men in tights throwing flags.
  • Frances lovingly calls Patti a "tough dyke" (some may not like use of that term).
  • Those afraid of severe thunderstorms might find a scene featuring one as a bit unsettling and/or suspenseful.
  • Frances and her contractors race out of her house as a large wall collapses as it's being torn down (played more for light humor than suspense).
  • Frances sees a large snake crawl into her house and then has various people looking for it. Martini acts as if it gets him when he puts his hand under her pillow, but he's just playing.
  • Three men in Rome clap upon seeing Frances and then follow her through the streets (in a lecherous sort of fashion) as she tries to get away from them (she eventually uses a stranger, Marcello, as a decoy).
  • None.
  • Phrases: "What the f*ck am I doing on a gay tour of Tuscany?" "No time to be a chickensh*t," "Holy sh*t," "One lucky bastard," "Losers," "What the hell happened to you?" "Freak me out," "(You) Idiot," "Screw up" and "Tough dyke."
  • A miscellaneous person has a tattoo.
  • Some young kids shoot spitballs at others in a movie theater.
  • Frances wears a midriff-revealing top.
  • The sudden flight of some pigeons might briefly startle some viewers.
  • None.
  • None.
  • At least 1 "f" word, 6 "s" words (1 in Italian), 2 asses, 1 damn, 1 hell, 9 uses of "Oh my God," 3 of "Oh God," 2 of "God," and 1 use each of "Jesus" and "My God."
  • A young man talks about a class with Frances and states that he "had her" (meaning as a teacher). He then realizes what he said and then states that he never had her (sexually) but that he wanted her. After he introduces her to others, he jokingly asks, "May I please French kiss you now?" Seeing her as the perfect woman, a guy then jokingly says that he'll kill himself if she cooks in the nude. She jokingly responds that she does so in a thong.
  • Patti tells Frances that she'll be visiting Tuscany on a gay tour (we see her on a bus with various gay couples, but nothing occurs between them).
  • We briefly see a woman walk by in short shorts that expose the lower part of her butt cheeks.
  • A woman shows some cleavage.
  • After killing a scorpion and thinking part of it has landed on her, Frances panics and starts to strip off her clothes (we see her in her bra as does a passing family).
  • Patti shows a little cleavage.
  • After Frances replies to Katherine that she has no consort at her home, she asks if Katherine has one. Katherine then jokingly implies that she has more than one.
  • Frances misinterprets what an Italian man asks her, thinking he's questioning if she's celibate. She says she isn't, but that it's been a while. Katherine then informs Frances that he was asking if she was single, not the last time she had sex.
  • Martini tells Frances that if she continues with her depressed ways, "I'll be forced to make love to you" and then adds that he's never been unfaithful to his wife.
  • We see a close-up of a woman's abundant cleavage in her low-cut top (as we're supposed to be looking at her necklace).
  • Frances walks in on Katherine having a mostly nude portrait of her done. We see her lying down with some sort of frilly thing blocking any explicit views of her chest or pelvic area (although we do see some cleavage and part of the side of her bare butt). We then see her put her hands on the back of a man's small briefs as he walks up (we only see his midsection).
  • Katherine mentions that someone is not bad, but not good either (innuendo).
  • Frances indirectly asks Marcello to sleep with her, prompting him to reply, "You're asking me to sleep with you?" She replies yes and the two then passionately kiss on the beach.
  • We then see them in a bedroom where they start to undress (both lose their tops and we see her in her bra). He's partially on top of her, kissing her on the lips and neck, causing her to do some heavy breathing. It's then suggested that he starts to perform oral sex on her as he disappears out of the shot down her body and we see her pleasured reaction to whatever he's doing.
  • The next morning, she's in just his dress shirt and then crawls on top of him in bed and they do some playful tussling and kissing. She then has him state the Italian names for various body parts and then asks about his penis after putting her hands under the covers (we see the action, but don't see it). He replies that its name is "exhausted, at least for the next five minutes." She agrees, they do some more playful tussling and we then possibly see a brief and partial glimpse of her bare breast as she partially lies beneath him.
  • Later and back at home, Frances dances around, puts her hands to her clothed breasts and crotch and proudly states that she's "still got it."
  • Frances shows cleavage.
  • Frances and Patti discover Pawel and Chiara fooling around on her bed (where she says even she doesn't do that). He's shirtless, she's in her bra and panties, and we see kissing and some caressing. They then complain that they have nowhere else to do that and Frances sarcastically asks if she's the "patron saint of horny teenagers."
  • Pawel and Chiara do some passionate kissing at a wedding.
  • One of the construction workers smokes several times, while several miscellaneous characters smoke.
  • Frances' lawyer informs her that her husband wants alimony and that she'll have to give up her part of the house in the process.
  • We hear that Frances' husband had an affair.
  • An apartment manager jokingly tells Frances that since she's a writer, she can help the other tenants (also going through divorces) write their suicide notes.
  • Chiara's father doesn't approve of her seeing Pawel due to his ethnicity. Later, he won't agree to Pawel asking for her hand in marriage, going on to say that he's a nobody (he later changes his mind).
  • Divorce.
  • Living in a foreign land.
  • Same sex relationships and having children in them.
  • Frances states that she took a chance (with the villa) since she's sick of being afraid all of the time.
  • The comment that regrets are a waste of time.
  • The comment that when you run into something good, you hold on until it's time to let go.
  • Chiara's father doesn't approve of her seeing Pawel due to his ethnicity.
  • The question that what is it about love that makes us so stupid.
  • The comment that no matter what happens, keep your childhood innocence.
  • Frances accidentally bruises her arm on a wall spigot inside her house.
  • Lighting strikes a washing machine that's outside of Frances home and sends it flying through the air.
  • A guy with thick glasses turns and runs into a wall.
  • Pawel is distracted and then hit on the head by a large flag pole that he had been throwing. It briefly knocks him out, but he's okay.
  • Frances purposefully throws a vase to the floor where it shatters.

  • Reviewed August 28, 2003 / Posted September 26, 2003

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