Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci

Starring Liv Tyler, Jeremy Irons, Carlo Cecchi, Sinead Cusack, Joseph Fiennes

"Stealing Beauty"

Opens: June 21, 1996 | Rated: R

This is a movie for every girl who wished losing her virginity had been more pleasant.

Say under a tree on a hilltop in Tuscany with a gentle, compassionate boy after spending a week at a vineyard having probing and meaningful discourse with a dozen brilliant, insightful artists and writers.

Oh, yes, and you're beautiful, innocently sexy and unknowingly charm every man you meet.

Boy that sounds cynical. "Stealing Beauty" is an intriguing, good-looking movie, and character-driven in the best sense. But truly, it's fanciful.

Liv Tyler, daughter of Aerosmith lead Steven Tyler (and considerably more talented), is the American virgin spending the summer of her 19th year in Italy. Her late mother was a poet, and instilled in her a sense of curiosity and thoughtfulness that has made her wise beyond her years but still youthful. She has come to Tuscany trying to discover the identity of her father, and hoping to meet the kind of boy with whom she could have a first fling.

While staying at the home of an artist, who is painting her portrait, she is the center of attention for a dozen guests, for whom she is a breath of fresh air. Sharing her guest house is a dying playwright who knew her mother (Jeremy Irons), in whom she confides.

Nothing particularly extraordinary happens to her during her stay, but as I said, this is a character drama and there's plenty of quirky personalities to be explored. The film is almost entirely from Tyler's point of view. So much so that what she writes in her diary appears on the screen like hand-written subtitles. Luckily she is a very interesting girl.

The film has one annoying quandary. The opening sequence is shot on grainy video by some lecherous man on a train oogling her while she sleeps. He hands her the tape as she disembarks but never looks at it, leaving the audience to wonder what it was supposed to mean.

©1996 All Rights Reserved.

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