A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie's main message is that engaging in life brings opportunities for new experiences, second chances, and recovery from even devastating wounds of the heart. It also promotes the ida that trusting yourself in new placesand sometimes making unexpected choices can be beautiful and rewarding.
Positive Role Models
Frances is able to find inner strength after a difficult rejection. She learns to be self-reliant and to accept the fact that life has both disappointments as well as wonderful surprises. The movie refrains from obvious stereotyping.
Violence & Scariness
A loud, threatening storm and the startling appearance of a harmless snake frighten the main character.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some partial nudity in several scenes: An eccentric woman wearing only a strategically placed feather boa poses for a semi-nude artist; a couple engaged in passionate sexual foreplay begin to undress; a teen couple is seen briefly partly hidden by bedding while in the throes of lovemaking. The main character’s proposal of a sexual liaison with a new acquaintance is followed by non-graphic sequences of foreplay and post-sexual romantic behavior.
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Language includes words like “bastard,” “dyke,” “hell,” "damn," “s--t,” “f--k,” and “ass.”
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink wine and some liqueurs on many occasions, particularly at meals and in social situations. In one scene, an intoxicated woman cavorts in a fountain. Several European characters smoke cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this story of grown-up entanglements and expectations isn't too likely to engage kids or teens. A few scenes include partial nudity; others depict sexual foreplay, passionate kissing, embracing, and playful post-sexual behavior. Language includes one use of "f--k," several forms of "s--t," and a few other words. Not surprisingly for a movie set in Italy, the characters enjoy wine freely (mostly while eating), and background characters occasionally smoke cigarettes. The supporting cast includes a number of gay and lesbian characters, including the main character's best friend; happily, the movie avoids many Hollywood stereotypes when it comes to these characters. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Like the crumbling Italian villa at the center of the story, there's a lot wrong with this film, but it's so enticing -- especially for its intended audience -- that it's hard to resist. The best-selling book by Frances Mayes about her restoration of a crumbling villa is beautifully written and wonderfully evocative, but it does not have much of a story. So writer/director Audrey Wells has taken the real Mayes, and thrown a lot of plot at her.
The problem is that director/screenwriter Wells tells us a lot more than she shows us. She seems to have no understanding of how to translate a story into film. The movie often seems abrupt and unfinished and the characters are superficially drawn. The script tells us how the characters feel about each other but does not make it matter enough for us to believe in or care about the way their relationships are resolved. Lane brings as much to the material as is humanly possible, but is given little to do beyond looking wistful and wounded. But it is all beguilingly pretty to watch and its message of hope and second chances is beguilingly pretty, too.
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Our Editors Recommend
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