login | register

Stealing Beauty

The most beautiful place to be is in love. 

Year: 1996 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

In case you haven't heard, Liv Tyler is the Next Big Thing. There are so many of them these days, aren't there? A Sandra Bullock here, a Gwyneth Paltrow there. Well, boys and girls, here's a new one: Liv Tyler can Act. Not just 'act' with a small 'a'. Not just 'perform'. Not just be endearingly dippy or sparklingly sincere. Liv Tyler has presence, charisma, subtlety and charm. The girl can Act with a capital A.

Stealing Beauty is her first movie. Or was her first movie. Previously having starred only in an Aerosmith video with another N.B.T. Alicia Silverstone, she found herself auditioning and then being chosen to play Lucy by Italian auteur Bernardo Bertolucci, he of the big scale EuroEpic, the intense political/psychodrama and the Buddha biopic. A gamble on an unkown turned into one of the most sublmiely seductive movies of the past few years. The only way is up, yes?

Plot: Lucy (Tyler) goes to stay with her bohemian relatives in Tuscany for a couple of weeks to have her portrait sculpted/painted (can't remember which). Her mother's recent suicide and the urge to meet up with the boy she fell in love with complicate matters emotionally. Her air of coy innocence appeals to everyone in the villa, particularly Alex Parrish (Irons), a dying writer.

As you'd expect, this simple little context with the occasional twist hither and thither creates endless spaces for Bertolucci to fill the moments with erotic and affectionate glances, gorgeous shots of Tuscany and endearingly awkward moments of love and lust under a tree. After the big scale emptiness of Bertolucci's past two epics and the inane pseudo-poetry of Il Postino, come see real poetry and real subtlety, hear great music and see a potentially great actress in her first, dreamy role.

Pauline Lak

More Information | Back to Previous Schedule | This Season  |  BBFC Classification Guidelines

Screenings of this film:

1996/1997 Spring Term (35mm)