Saturday, November 10, 2007

Tuscany without love. (Film - Under the Tuscan Sun)

Signora, between Austria and Italy, there is a section of the Alps called the Semmering. It is an impossibly steep, very high part of the mountains. They built a train track over these Alps to connect Vienna and Venice. They built these tracks even before there was a train in existence that could make the trip. They built it because they knew some day, the train would come.

This brilliant bit of dialogue says every there is to say about Under the Tuscan Sun. If you are looking for a movie to surprise you, you won't find it here. If you like a film built by committee, a film where you can predict every line before they say it, where you could predict the color of every costume, and the profile of the Italian lover. If you are looking for a film where you know the ending within a minute of its beginning, then this is your cup of chamomile tea. It's certainly not mine.

An early scene is set in an expensive urban restaurant with New Yorker magazine dialogue. It features a post-divorce Diane Lane being comforted by her best friend, who has cashed in her tickets on a gay tour to Tuscany for her. It said absolutely everything I needed. Now granted, two movies in two days is a near record for me (it used to not be the case), and The Science of Sleep was the last movie I saw and one of the best movies I've seen in a very long time, so the contrast may have been too much for me. This film's tragedy is a victim of it's process. In one way, the product is simply gorgeous. I want that house. They all hit their marks. The scenery is gorgeous, Lindsay Duncan is delightful fun, I laughed out loud more than once - but there's no humanity. A shame in a film about love. They spent millions on that scene in New York and it looked like it was written in three minutes and shot it in 2 hours. The Science of Sleep was shot on what it cost to shoot this one scene, but they took two months prior to shooting just to prepare the animation so that the actors in the real-life scenes could have something to react to." A gorgeous view is not a film.

They begin the "making of" segment on the special features menu of the DVD of Under the Tuscan Sun with the line: "this film is structured..." It sure is.

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