When I did my stint in Hollywood, I was 21 and about as stupid as the next club kid. From my apartment complex, you could see the searchlights criss-crossing the night sky on premiere night. Under the Tuscan Sun opened at Disney’s El Capitan theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, so we all got drunk and went downtown to go clubbing and stalk Diane Lane.
Unfortunately, you needed an armed gaurd to approach the red carpet, and we were too blitzed to deal with the crowds, so we went to increase our intoxication and bump and grind with the local trendsetters.
Watching Under The Tuscan Sun, now 5 years later, I can appreciate the movie itself, instead of clinging to those memories of Hollywood; a place that would have swallowed me whole had I stayed any longer. A movie-obsessed, club-obsessed, drunken addict does not belong in Hollywood, just the way a compulsive gambler does not belong in Vegas. I was way too eager to experience the celebrity lifestyle. I don’t know if I would have survived it.
I relate to this movie for two reasons: 1. Diane Lane’s statement “How are you supposed to survive someone saying, ‘I never loved you’ ? That should kill you, right there.” 2. Sandra Oh’s role as a single mom.
Both women play characters who are attempting to survive heartbreak. Diane Lane’s husband left her to start a family with a younger woman (hmm, yeah, I can relate to that). Sandra Oh plays a pregnant lesbian who is consquently ditched by her partner, who realized she “just wasn’t ready to be a mother after all.”
Ouch. Been there (except my partner was a man).
Sandra Oh’s part in Under the Tuscan Sun is very small, mostly there for comic relief, and to fulfill Diane Lane’s dream of “having a family” in her house. But that statement alone make the movie worthwhile. That a single mom and her daughter are recognized as a family; not a broken family, not half of a family, not a dysfunction family, but just a plain old family.
The love theme in the film is pretty obvious (being a chick flick and all). Its about surviving love, finding love, defining love, recognizing love, protecting love and falling in love. Both characters survive their pasts. Diane Lane finds her hot Italian love affair, only to realize her definition of love still continues to hurt and hinder her own self-worth. At one point, she takes on the role of a single mom, declaring herself “family” to a young man who is desperate to get the blessing of his True Love’s parents.
Sandra Oh falls in love with her daughter, exemplified in a scene where she dances around the courtyard, cooing to her baby in utter joy. Diane Lane calls out to her, but she is enrapt in oblivious mommyhood. Its in that moment that Diane Lane realizes her friend no longer needs to be comforted through her grief. The joy of being a parent outweighs the pain of love lost, even if our transformations aren’t as instantaneous as crying in one scene and dancing around a courtyard with our babies in the next.
The underlying message of the estrogen-infused Under The Tuscan Sunis “life goes on” (oh blah dee, oh blah da..), which is a good mantra for anyone who’s been through pain, misery and heartbreak. Plus what single mom/divorce’ doesn’t enjoy watching a shirtless Italian say “I’m going to make love all over you.”
Sometimes you just need a movie like that, especially when you haven’t had sex in 6 months.