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Stealing Beauty (1996)

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After her mother commits suicide, a young woman travels to Italy in search of love, truth and a deeper connection with herself.

Writers:

Bernardo Bertolucci (story), Susan Minot
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Popularity
3,744 ( 232)
3 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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The epic tale of a class struggle in twentieth century Italy, as seen through the eyes of two childhood friends on opposing sides.

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Stars: Robert De Niro, Gérard Depardieu, Dominique Sanda
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Carlo Cecchi Carlo Cecchi ... Carlo Lisca
Sinéad Cusack ... Diana (as Sinead Cusack)
Joseph Fiennes ... Christopher
Jason Flemyng ... Gregory
Anna Maria Gherardi Anna Maria Gherardi ... Chiarella Donati
Jeremy Irons ... Alex
Jean Marais ... M. Guillaume
Donal McCann ... Ian
D.W. Moffett ... Richard
Ignazio Oliva Ignazio Oliva ... Osvaldo Donati
Stefania Sandrelli ... Noemi
Francesco Siciliano ... Michele Lisca
Mary Jo Sorgani Mary Jo Sorgani ... Maria
Leonardo Treviglio Leonardo Treviglio ... Lieutenant
Liv Tyler ... Lucy Harmon
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Storyline

After her mother commits suicide, nineteen year old Lucy Harmon travels to Italy to have her picture painted. However, she has other reasons for wanting to go. She wants to renew her acquaintance with Nicolo Donati, a young boy with whom she fell in love on her last visit four years ago. She also is trying to solve the riddle left in a diary written by her dead mother, Sara. Written by Kale Whorton <nikko11@mind.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The most beautiful place to be is in love.

Genres:

Drama | Mystery | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality, nudity, some drug use and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy | France | UK

Language:

English | French | German | Spanish | Italian

Release Date:

14 June 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dancing by Myself See more »

Filming Locations:

Italy See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$103,028, 16 June 1996, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$4,573,330, 15 September 1996
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It's not revealed why Lucy's mother committed suicide. See more »

Goofs

When Richard tells Lucy to stick out her tongue, her hair changes between shots from loose in front of her left shoulder, to tucked neatly behind it. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Lucy: What are you doing?
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening credits, there is a montage of Lucy (Liv Tyler) being recorded on a video camera during her travel to Italy by an unknown man. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jersey Girl (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

IN QUESTA SPLENDIDA CITTA
Performed by Paolo Passano
Written by Paolo Passano
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A master work by a master director. Excellent!
30 May 2006 | by i-got-awaySee all my reviews

I am a Bertolucci fan, and this film is one of the reasons why. I watch it again and again and never get tired of it. Don't be fooled by the 'losing virginity' theme; this film is about life, and death, and everything that happens in between. It's about what you seek and what you're willing to give up to get it.

One of the best things about this film is that every character has a story, and an arc in the film, most of which is given by just one or two lines or shots in the film. For example, near the end of the film, Sinead Cusack's character slumps at the table after having taken an old friend to the hospital, probably for the last time. She says she misses England "and rain, and milk that goes off", and says that she's tired of looking after people. Then everyone starts coming in and asking about dinner, and she just gets up and opens the fridge. In less than a minute, we see into her life and character in a way that most films would take at least an act to explore. We even learn a lot about Lucy's mother (Lucy is played by a young Liv Tyler), even though she has died before the beginning of the film and never appears in it except in a photograph (also of Tyler).

There is not a flaw in any of the performances. Never do we feel that these are people acting. They just feel like people, interacting, and we always have a feeling of their life leading up to the moments we see them, and they are interesting lives.

The location itself is one of the characters, and it is beautifully shot, the colours saturated and rich. It feels like you can touch the stones, smell the air, feel the grass and flagstones beneath your bare feet. If you don't want to go to Tuscany after seeing this film, you are ill or on the wrong medication. The beauty that is being stolen, or that people want to steal, is not just the beauty of the young virgin on the hill, it is the beauty of life, of living, of learning, of looking back and finally giving it all up, knowing it cannot be stolen. I know that some people criticize Bertolucci for his aesthetic, for bringing the beauty out of every moment, even the horrible ones, and I say to those people that they live the life they choose.

Finally, there is the soundtrack, which runs from alt-pop to classical to everything in between and works perfectly. It illuminates Lucy's internal reality and is true to the music that a girl of her age would have been listening to at that time, and it also helps set the scene and smooth transitions between scenes.

This is a master work by a master director, and one of my favourite films of all time.


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