Book vs. Movie – Under the Tuscan Sun

When I posted last week about one of my favorite movies, Under the Tuscan Sun, I was surprised by how many of you hadn’t seen the movie.  I read the book in 2010 (here) and watched the movie, again, last week (here) so I can easily compare the two, and it’s made easier considering that the two are so completely different.

The Story/Plot  The book is a travel memoir of a San Fransisco couple that buys and restores a house in Tuscany, on a part-time basis.  It is very detailed, includes recipes and makes you feel like you are in Italy.  The movie is about a San Fransisco woman who has been jilted by her husband and goes to Italy on vacation but stays because she has nowhere to go.  She finds the life she always wanted while immersing herself in another culture.  I did not think there was much of a story in the book, but the movie had a great story of discovery.  Thumbs Up- Movie

The Visual  No description can compare to the beauty of Italy.  The movie did an excellent job of showcasing Italy while still telling a story.  Thumbs Up- Movie

Characters vs. Actors  Frances Mayes seems like a fine person, but trying to compare to Diane Lane is tough.  Frances’s boyfriend was nowhere to be found in the movie, but again hard to compare with Diane’s first Italian boyfriend…

 The secondary characters in each were completely different too.  Thumbs Up- Movie

The Ending  In the book Frances and her boyfriend go back and forth between Italy and California and in the movie Frances finds a home and new life in Italy.  Again, nothing wrong with the book, just a preference for the movie.  Thumbs Up- Movie

And the winner is… Obviously, I think the movie was a runaway winner.  Just goes to prove that the book isn’t always better.

Now it’s your turn to vote

If you want to vote in past book vs. movie polls  (The Shining) (The Secret Life of Bees)

20 thoughts on “Book vs. Movie – Under the Tuscan Sun

  1. I’m with you here, Stacy! I read the book and saw the movie…I’ve seen the movie several times actually. I really like it and thought it was, overall, better than the book. The book isn’t bad but the movie’s photography is great, it stars Diane Lane who is great as is the rest of the cast and the comedic parts are well done

  2. I read the book first and saw the movie a long time after. The book won over the movie I think because I read it first. If I hadn’t, I think I would have liked the movie more for all the plot reasons you listed. That probably makes no sense but I remember being disappointed in the movie.

  3. I’ve only seen the movie. It was on TV late one night a few weeks ago and I really enjoyed watching it, despite it being late. it’s very rare for me to read a book if I’ve seen the movie or see the move if I’ve already read the book.

  4. I don’t hate Italy but I haven’t read or watched the story. I saw most of the movie at the gym- it was on the TVs there for a couple of days- but I only saw bits. It looked like a fun one though, and very pretty :)

  5. I think for me part of the reason is that the book is non-fiction and so it is written from the perspective of sharing, not necessarily for making a good story!

    You are right though. This is one of the few movies I can think of where the movie is better than the book.

  6. LOVE this movie. Seriously one of my favorites. So when I read the book I was so disappointed. Though if I had read the book first (which I don’t think I knew existed), I’d probably be upset at the Hollywoodization of the book!

  7. Having lived in Cortona 1980-2000 i was really disappointed in the film and its portrayal of that sleepy Rin Van Winkle town- the fountain in the piazza doesn’t exist and watching the film in Australia i was sooo looking forward to recognising faces of old friends etc in the crowd, but there were hardly any town scenes in the film. If anyone is interested i have recently published my own memoir about Cortona…

  8. The book is nothing like the movie. They used the name of the book and the authors name but nothing else is in the movie. The movie is fiction. All the characters I loved in the movie are no where in the book. I was very disappointed in the book.

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