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Movie Healing Theme Topics


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Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)

 Rated PG:13  1 hr. 53 minutes


Director: Audrey Wells

Producers: Tom Sternberg, Audrey Wells

Screenwriter: Audrey Wells

Cast: Diane Lane, Raoul Bova, Sandra Oh, Lindsay Duncan, Dan Bucatinsky, Vincent Riotta


Films that display the virtue transcendence provide avenues for meaning in life, empower viewers to enhance their awareness, create healthy life changes, deepen their commitment with others, or help connect them more deeply with "something greater." (Niemiec & Wedding, 2008).  The virtue transcendence is shown by the protagonist of the movie Under the Tuscan Sun.  This character develops the strengths appreciation of beauty and excellence, gratitude and hope.


Frances Mayes is a San Francisco author and book critic who suffers intense emotional pain in the process of divorcing her husband.  Frances' facial expressions and body language of despair pull the viewer into her internal emotional experience.  Her lesbian best friend gives Frances a 10-day trip on a gay tour through the beautiful landscape of Tuscany.


The viewers sense her appreciation of beauty when she buys a 300-year old house in Tuscany.  Viewers share her fear and dread and many other challenges she confronts while remodeling her villa.  Frances says that she "is just tired of being afraid."


Rebuilding the mansion gives her hope.  This process corresponds symbolically with the process of reassembling the fragmented pieces of her soul.  As her inner healing progresses, she feels grateful and falls in love.  The messages this story conveys are hopeful. Her life becomes complete again. (Wolz, 2013, P. 68).

References & Resources


Solomon, Gary (2001). Reel Therapy: How Movies Inspire You to Overcome Life's Problems. NY: Lebhar-Friedman Books.


Wedding, Danny, M. Boyd, Mary Ann & Niemiec, Ryan M. (2005). Movies and Mental Illness: Using Films to Understand Psychopathology (2nd revised and edited edition). Ashland, OH: Hogrefe & Huber.


Wolz, Birgit (2013). Positive Psychology & The Movies: Transformational Effects of Movies through Positive Cinema Therapy. Zur Institute. Innovative Resources & Online Continuing Education.

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