Italian Escape: Why I love it

There’s a movie I own that I watch every once in a while, and I love it all over again every time.

It’s called Under a Tuscan Sun, starring Diane Lane. You can see the latest about her here. First off, I’ve always liked Diane Lane. She pulls off characters that are real and complex, and she does it so easily.

I would contrast her to Anne Hathaway, with those giant eyes and red lips, who can’t seem to act like a genuine person to save her life, until The Intern, so the jury is still out as to whether or not The Intern was just an anomally, and Hathaway will resume her plastic roles in future movies. That was kind of a run-on sentence. Sorry. Hope you followed it.

I digress. Back to Diane Lane . . . .

Lane is drop-dead gorgeous. It surprised me to see her in another movie recently where she played a haggard mom and was not gorgeous at all. But typically, she’s stunning.

She’s stunning in this movie. She plays a broken, crushed woman, so for about half the movie, you can tell she’s pretty, but it doesn’t really shine because she’s so sad.

Lane’s character is a successful teacher of writing—if I remember right—and she gets dumped by her husband. She leaves her upscale New York apartment and, sort of under pressure, goes on a tour of Italy with a group of gays and lesbians. On the tour, she sees a villa that’s for sale, and on a whim, buys it. And then realizes what she has done—basically, bought an ancient fixer-upper in a country where she doesn’t speak the language and knows no one except the guy that sold her the house.

Somehow—again, I don’t remember the details—she hires a crew of three guys from Croatia or Serbia or Herzogovina or somewhere like that, none of whom she can communicate with. And they go at it with the house, crashing down plaster walls, generally creating mayhem, but at the end of course producing this fabulous re-hab.

Over the span of the movie, Lane meets an incredibly handsome Italian guy, proves to herself that she still has it in bed, loses the guy because of distance and busyness, cooks amazing dinners for her crew of Croatians/Serbians/Herzogovinians, helps two young lovers overcome cultural obstacles to get married, and at the very end, meets a very cool American journalist who shows up at her villa. For some reason I also can’t immediately remember.

But anyway, you see her transform from a devastated woman with no future to this vibrant, gorgeous creature that has a whole new life ahead of her. The story is great and the location is unforgettable.

I loved the movie the first time I watched it. And now, going through my own life transitions, I enjoy it even more. I look at Lane’s character and think, yeah, that could be me. Maybe without the villa and the amazing looks and the Croatian crew, but still, it could be me. She came out of a tough spot and not only survived it but had a great new life. I know, it’s just a movie. But yeah, it could be me.