Posted in: Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on February 8th, 2004
Fresh off of her Oscar nominated performance in Unfaithful, Diane Lane now takes on a somewhat lighter role in Under the Tuscan Sun. This film, which contains aspects of romance, comedy, and drama, is perfectly suited for Lane. Her beauty shines, and is framed perfectly with the amazing Tuscan countryside. The film is pretty good for what it is… it has a number of captivating moments, but also has a few lull’s in its pace. Take away a few of the over-the-top cheesy scenes, and you are left with a good dramatic ro…antic comedy.
- ”From the studio that brought you SWEET HOME ALABAMA comes the extraordinary romantic comedy starring Academy Award® nominee Diane Lane (2002 Best Actress, UNFAITHFUL). Based on the #1 New York Times best-selling book, UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN follows San Francisco writer Frances Mayes (Lane) to Italy as a good friend offers her a special gift — 10 days in Tuscany. Once there, she is captivated by its beauty and warmth, and impulsively buys an aging, but very charming, villa. Fully embracing new friends and local color, she finds herself immersed in a life-changing adventure filled with enough unexpected surprises, laughter, friendship, and romance to restore her new home — and her belief in second chances.“ – Buena Vista Home Entertainment
The audio on this disc sounds as good as can be expected for a dialog-driven film. The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, which is quite front heavy, has nice separation and is quite clean. The surrounds and soundstage are not used to their full potential, but do pipe up every once and a while. The dialog is clean and well focused, and that is the most important aspect of this discs audio presentation.
This discs 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer has its high and low points. The colors are extremely vibrant, creating a beautiful feel for the film. The Tuscan countryside, with it ripe flowers and amazing architecture looks as good as you would expect it to. On the other hand, this transfer is marred with a number of occasional defects… such as dust, debris, and grain. These defects are somewhat surprising due to recent age of the print, but they do not totally take the viewer away from the viewing experience.
There are a few notable extras that have been included in this DVD release of Under the Tuscan Sun. First up is a featurette entitled “Tuscany 101” (9:25) that includes interviews about the story, highlight clips form the film, and some marginal behind-the-scenes footage. Next up are three deleted scenes… of which on “Discovering the Fresco” is worth checking out. Lastly, Director Audrey Wells shares her insight into the film and filmmaking process with us through an audio commentary. This commentary track is very informative, and well scripted. There are a few silent gaps throughout (nothing too annoying), and there was a lack of entertainment value. That being said, this is still a very good commentary.
This is a pretty good film… it has a nice mix of drama, romance, and comedy. The DVD release is pretty average, with good audio, decent video, and suitable extras… but it is still worth checking out.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary with Director Audrey Wells
- “Tuscany 101” Featurette
- Deleted Scenes