Under The Tuscan Sun (2003) 
Blu-ray Romantic Comedy
Written by Noah Fleming   
Friday, 13 July 2012

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Say what you will about rom-coms, but “Under The Tuscan Sun” has an aurora about it that makes it rather enjoyable.  The film is adapted from a best-selling book (ever notice how the only books you ever hear of are always “best-selling”).  There are a couple of twists in the characters, but other than that, “Under The Tuscan Sun” is not much more than standard romantic plot lines.

The film follows Frances (Lane) after her divorce.  She accepts a friend’s trip to Tuscany in order to move on with her life.  While she is there she impulsively buys a villa that is in desperate need of renovations.  Still, anything in Tuscany is absolutely beautiful.

Frances finds herself discovering what life has to offer through dramatic and comedic moments, usually involving the three workers at her villa.  Frances is open to finding love again, but is also on a path of self-discovery.

While the film isn’t exactly original, it does avert some of the pitfalls of rom-coms with insightful character behavior and notions.  The breathtaking cinematography of the Tuscan mountainside is perhaps one of the most inspiring parts about this film.

There isn’t a whole lot to this film other than some laughter and some beauty.

The film is presented on Blu-ray with a transfer than beats a lot of the catalog transfer out there, but still seems held back.  Perhaps when we have high expectations of seeing some of the most stunning landscapes in the world in high-definition we come to expect certain transfers.  While the film is not horrible, I imagine that it could be a bit better.  Nevertheless, this transfer beats out “Step Up” by leaps and bounds.  Soft sequences are quite to a minimum, though they do appear.  Detailed sequences look stunning, sometimes revealing a few too many flaws in the image.  The colors are bold and vibrant, leaving us with vivid images of Tuscany.  The black levels are solid and leaves shadow delineation well defined.  Improvements could be made, but all in all, this film has a nice Blu-ray debut.

The audio quality is more simplistic and embodies that of a rom-com.  The surround channels are light, occasionally providing envelopment but never immersion.  The dialogue is nicely prioritized and weighty.  Dynamics are better than to be expected given the sound design.  The LFE channel is low key as expected.  The frequency response is even.  Front channel width is spread out nicely, at least avoiding the narrow, center channel only pitfall of most rom-coms.

The standard DVD bonus materials are presented here on Blu-ray.  There are a few deleted scenes.  “Tuscany 101” is a making-of featurette.  Lastly, there is a director audio commentary with Audrey Wells.

“under The Tuscan Sun” is a film that most any couple can enjoy together.  The video quality is not quite awe-inspiring but will leave you longing to explore Tuscany in person.  I recommend this title.
Studio Touchstone Home Entertainment
MPAA Rating PG-13
Starring Diane Lane, Sandra Oh, Lindsay Duncan, Raoul Bova
Director Audrey Wells
Film Release Year 2003
Release Year 2012
Resolution(s) 1080p (main feature) • 480i (supplements)
Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Running Time 1 hr. 53 mins.
Sound Formats English DTS-HD Master 5.1 • French Dolby Digital 5.1 • Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
Subtitles English SDH • French • Spanish
Special Features Director Audio Commentary; Deleted Scenes; “Tuscany 101”
Forum Link http://www.avrev.com/forum
Reviewer Noah Fleming

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