6.6/10
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88 user 38 critic

Stealing Beauty (1996)

Trailer
2:32 | Trailer
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
3,172 ( 814)
3 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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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

Lucy, an American teenager arriving in the lush Tuscan countryside to visit her mother's friends, Diana and her husband, Irish artist Ian residing there. She visited there four years earlier and exchanged a kiss with a handsome boy, Niccoló with whom she hopes to become reacquainted. Her mother, poet Sara has committed suicide since then, and she also hopes to discover the identity of her father, whom her mother hinted was a resident of the villa. Once she arrives, she meets a variety of eccentric visitors, including a dying gay playwright Alex, M. Guillaume, an old deranged New York art gallery owner, Diana's daughter from a previous marriage, jewelry designer Miranda, her boyfriend, an entertainment lawyer Richard, Noemi, a column writer and several others. Lucy has decided to lose her virginity and becomes an object of intense interest to the men of the household, but the suitor she finally selects is not the initial object of her affection. Stealing Beauty boasted an intriguing ... Written by lament

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

Gross USA:

$4,722,310

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,762,310
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

"Say it Ain't So" by Roland Gift, the song during the end credits, was not on the soundtrack CD. 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

Featured in Indie Sex: Teens (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Chill Out (Things Gonna Change)
Performed by John Lee Hooker
Written by John Lee Hooker, Carlos Santana, Chester Thompson
Courtesy of Pointblank / Virgin Records America, Inc.
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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