Buttnana’s First Flick Thought: Under the Tuscan Sun

Happy December, Lyfers! It’s Buttnana again (lol @ me for feeling the need to mention that every single time) and I’m trying something different this month. I had this whole “Draw My Life” worthy spiel about WHY I feel the need to do this, but suffice it to say that I just fuckin’ want to. Welcome to Flick Thoughts.

The Project: Watch and reflect on one new movie every day for the month of December.
The Rules: It has to be a new movie, I have to have given myself a day to reflect, and I can’t have looked up a bunch of other reviews about it beforehand. If any Flick Thoughts resemble anyone else’s it’ll be because we’re all decaying on the same trash heap and not because I let someone else’s review spoil how I experience the film. Consider ALL Flick Thoughts to have a built-in spoiler alert warning. Although, I don’t anticipate I’ll be reviewing anything super new because I’m mostly limited to Netflix and Amazon Prime. Either way, don’t give me shit because I ruined Under the Tuscan Sun for you. That shit came out in 2003.

I’m on Board, Buttnana. Let’s DO THIS.
I knew you would be. *finger guns* I chose “Under the Tuscan Sun” because it looked like a nourishing pro-woman film I could take in by myself as an act of self-care.The premise, in case you’re not familiar, is that a woman (Francesca) buys a house in Tuscany and remodels it after she leaves her cheating husband. It’s based on a book by the same name.

I wanted something I could fully enjoy without the irrational fear of one of my film professors popping out the closet like “THIS FILM DIES IN THE THIRD ACT HA HA HA.” I wanted something I could openly weep to. Life skill note: If things aren’t going super well for you, or even if you’re just having a bad day, find a movie you can cry at. If you’re anything like me, movie-tears are guilt-free.

I am pleased to report that the film did just what I wanted it to (dat confirmation bias doe). It was, in fact, a pro-woman film that I could openly weep with. Not because it was sad, but because it was about new beginnings and persevering and taking risks.

The Actual Flick Thoughts
Here’s the part of this series that (I hope) is actually interesting. I’m just going to fuckin’ list some cool shit I noticed in the film. Maybe that’ll make you want to watch it. If nothing else it won’t be more of the same self-aggrandizing nonsense that is a lot of amateur movie reviews.

  • “Under the Tuscan Sun” passes The Bechdel Test. We can always use more of those.
  • We don’t ever actually see the cheating husband on film. He briefly appears in a photograph and there is (I believe) one mention of his name. I love that they didn’t put him in the film because A) he’s a cheater who got the house in the settlement because his mistress got pregnant and B) it really centers the film around Francesca. She gets to be the hero in her own story even though a dude was the catalyst for change. Refreshing that women can actually be in their own god damn movie, right?
  • The Italians in the film were actually Italian! Like, there was an Italian casting director (Béatrice Kruger)!
  • A truly touching moment occurs near the end of the film when the building crew (three displaced Polish men) bids Francesca adieu after the house is complete. The scene is peppered with black and white stills that capture more emotion than I was expecting. They were sharing a real human moment. It was beautiful.
  • Francesca almost, but doesn’t quite, meet The Guy (you know, the guy every divorced woman meets post divorce that teaches her how to love again) several times. I thought that was cool as hell because time and time again Francesca was back in the middle of her own story. And I think we could all do well to remember that. Especially women.

I only had one negative-leaning thought about the film. I thought it was bullshit that she DID meet The Guy at the end of the film and he was American. Given all the talk about the stereotypes of Italian men (they don’t care if you’re married, or if they’re married, and they always sleep around), it was a little on the nose. That choice almost smacked of some ignorant ass racism to me. I don’t care if it’s actually true that every Italian dude is an olive-skinned Lothario…it’s still a lazy narrative choice.

So Should I Watch This, Buttnana?
Absolutely. “Under the Tuscan Sun” made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It’ll be one of those movies when I’m down and I would like to be less down.


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