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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I loved Bernardo Bertolucci's movie "Stealing Beauty" (1996) when I saw it for the first time almost 15 years ago, and I remember how surprised I was to rather mixed and lukewarm reactions of some famous and respectable critics towards it. Many of them accused Stealing Beauty in what they called "apparent self-indulgence, and lack of character development and drama." I don't care about self-indulgence if it helps to create as beautiful and pleasing to all senses film as Stealing Beauty. And if the critics did not feel sweet gentle sadness from encountering the stealing beauty that one can't hold on to forever, I feel sorry for them.
I re-watched the film recently and I loved it even more than first time. It has got some healing quality to it, it glows under Tuscany sun. It is filled with warmth, longing and bitter-sweetness.
This must be one of my favorite movies about coming of age, about unforgettable moment in time that changes life of a young person forever and touches lives of all people around her. In the center of the film, there is Lucy, a 19 years old American girl, who came to Italy to spend the summer with the group of artists - friends of her mother while trying to come to terms with her mother's recent suicide and the secrets that she took with her. Lucy will learn more about people she thought she knew well and about herself. She will change forever during the unforgettable summer in Tuscany.
Stealing Beauty is a European film in the best sense of the word. Leisurely paced, gorgeously shot, it looks in the faces of characters, in the beauty surrounding them, with interest and affection. This is a lovely film that celebrates life and beauty of youth, nature and Italy, Art and power of memory. This film reminds me another favorite of mine, "Enchanting April" (1992). Perhaps, because both movies have the same atmosphere, the similar scenery, the sun of Tuscany, and their effect on characters, and both are so delightfully and unabashedly romantic.
Liv Tyler in her first big role lit the screen with her beauty and, charming awkwardness. She was very convincing as the girl hesitating to step over the border between adolescence and maturity. Lyv Tyler obviously was not an experienced actress at 19 but I don't think it was required of her. Lucy was natural and charming, innocent and curious, she was the center of the film, and her innocence, wholesomeness, insecurity and seriousness touched lives of everyone she spent that summer in Tuscany with. Watching Tyler simply move on screen is a cinematic pleasure. One second, the movements of her endless legs and arms are graceful and fluid, next - she is all angular impetuosity. She knew the effect of her luminous beauty on everyone but she was not quite sure how to deal with it.
Besides Liv Tyler in the performance that made her a star, Jeremy Irons is also memorable as Alex Parrish. "Stealing Beauty" was the last feature film of the multi- talented, famous and beloved French actor, Jean Marais, mostly known for his collaboration with Jean Cocteau, Lucino Visconti and for many excellent film and stage performances.
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