Stealing Beauty

"Bad"

Stealing Beauty Review


Stealing Beauty is a bad movie. Bernardo Bertolucci, the Academy Award-winning director of 1987's The Last Emperor, is dead. He has been replaced with a hormonal and juvenile kid, masquerading as a filmmaker, desperately trying to appeal to a cerebral audience yet maintaining enough accessibility for the moviegoing public.

Stealing Beauty fails miserably on both counts.

The story is simple, after you put it together (Susan Minot's script hides the real plot for a good hour). Liv Tyler plays Lucy, a 19-year old virginal American who travels to Italy to lounge around with old family friends, talk about her dead poetess mother, and find her sexual awakening. Or, How To Make an American Quilt. Lucy moves in with about a dozen bizarre characters -- I have no idea who they are or why they are together except that some of them new her mother -- some are English, some American, some Italian -- they're just living in a big villa in Italy -- and Lucy basically makes herself at home. A lot of people have a lot of sex, and Lucy watches or listens to a lot of this, when she isn't posing half-naked for a statue being carved in her image. As Jerry Seinfeld would say, "Who are these people!?"

On screen, this set of situations is as ridiculous as it looks on paper. The movie makes little or no sense, being at its heart a far-too simplistic tale of a girl losing her virginity that is told in a far-too roundabout way so as to make even this fact almost lost upon the viewer.

The story is so simple, yet at the same time, Tyler's character is wholly unbelievable as a real person. Quite frankly, she is contradicted in her actions with every progressive scene. Whether this is Tyler's fault or the script is anyone's guess.

As for the titular Beauty, there ain't a whole lot of it around, unless you consider scenes of Lucy drooling, Lucy looking at a bidet, Lucy talking with her mouth full, Lucy singing off-key, and Lucy vomiting as "beautiful." Stealing beauty? You can have it! And you can keep Liv Tyler as an actress altogether as far as I'm concerned. (Am I the only one who had the misfortune of seeing Silent Fall?)

In fact, the only real beauty in the film is Bertolucci's ultra-stylish/ ultra-cutesy photography, which ultimately does little to enhance the story. (Note to the producers: please cut out the superimposition of Lucy's poetry on the screen while she looks wistfully into the camera.) And lest you think I'm too negative, the only decent character in the film is the terminally ill Alex (Jeremy Irons). I have no idea why he was in the movie, but his scenes were the only watchable ones, and he's the only likable character.

Bertolucci tries to win us over by showing a lot of naked people, but I certainly wasn't sucked in. In fact, I was just shocked at the amount of lechery and sluttiness that goes on that is essentially endorsed by the film.

My favorite line in the picture: "What am I doing here with these kids?" I couldn't have said it better myself.



Stealing Beauty

Facts and Figures

Run time: 118 mins

In Theaters: Friday 14th June 1996

Distributed by: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Production compaines: Fox Searchlight Pictures, Recorded Picture Company (RPC), Jeremy Thomas Productions, France 2 Cinéma, Fiction Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 53%
Fresh: 25 Rotten: 22

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer:

Starring: as Lucy Harmon, as Diana Grayson, as Alex Parrish, as Carlo Lisca, as Ian Grayson, as M. Guillaume, as Miranda Fox, as Christopher Fox, as Gregory, Anna Maria Gherardi as Chiarella Donati, D.W. Moffett as Richard, Ignazio Oliva as Osvaldo Donati, as Noemi, as Niccolò Donati, Francesco Siciliano as Michele Lisca, Mary Jo Sorgani as Maria, Leonardo Treviglio as le Lieutenant

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

It's been 15 years since Vin Diesel walked away from his XXX role, killing off...

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Advertisement
Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.