“I think you’re in danger….  Of never recovering.  You know when you come across one of those empty shell people and you think, ‘what the hell happened to you?’  Well there came a time in each one of those lives where they were standing at a crossroads…  Someplace where they had to decide to turn left or right.  This is no time to be a chickenshit, Frances.”

So Patti tells her best friend Frances, as Frances wallows in misery after her husband leaves her for his pregnant girlfriend.  Patti convinces Frances to go on a vacation to Italy, and while there, Frances impulsively buys a rundown Tuscan villa.

 She then proceeds to rebuild both the villa and her life.

Everybody’s got a movie they watch to lift them up when they’re sick with the flu, or feeling blue, or just want to run away from their humdrum life.

A chicken soup movie.

Under the Tuscan Sun is mine.

I’ve watched it so many times I could recite 90% of the dialogue without missing a word.  I’d say 100% but there’s a lot of Italian with English subtitles.

The lion’s share of the credit for the film’s success goes to Diane Lane, who plays Frances with such a winning charm and vulnerability you can’t help but root for her.

She spends the night with a sexy Italian stranger, the first man she’s slept with since her divorce.

When she returns home, she jumps on her bed like a child.

I knew it, I knew it, I knew it.  I still got it.  Thank god,” she cries with equal parts jubilation and relief.

Under the Tuscan Sun is about love, and hope, and second chances.

It’s about releasing your death grip on life and letting good things come to you, like ladybugs crawling on you when you give up looking for them and instead take a nap in the grass.

Frances ends the film by saying, “Any arbitrary turn along the way and I would be elsewhere.  I would be different…..  Unthinkably good things can happen, even late in the game.  It’s such a surprise.”

I believe that too.

And when I come to difficult forks in the road of my life, I think of Frances.

And try not to be a chickenshit.

This is part of my Movies I’m Grateful For series, running daily through the month of November. 

Other films include: Splash | New Moon | The Lucky One | Thelma and Louise | Katy Perry:  Part of Me | Crazy Rich Asians |