A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that on the most superficial level, the movie's plot revolves a girl losing her virginity. Lots of sex is shown on screen (without nudity), and there's a skinny dipping scene. Characters drink and smoke marijuana and cigarettes. For families who are comfortable discussing sex and relationships, this moving can be a good one to watch with teen girls who are on the cusp of sexual freedom, since it begs the question of what attracts people to each other.
What's the story?
In STEALING BEAUTY, teenager Lucy Harmon (Liv Tyler) is spending a summer in a Tuscan artists' colony and is intent on losing her virginity. Who will be the one? Alex Barnes (Jeremy Irons), a dying writer? Carlo Lisca (Carlo Cecchi), an enigmatic ex-paramour of Lucy's mother? Old family friend Christopher, who gave Lucy her first kiss on her last visit to Italy? Much of the film is devoted to setting up various candidates and then dismissing them. Lucy herself is a cipher. The camera bathes her with love, point-blank goggling at her as she pouts, and smokes, and dances, and loafs around the colony.
Is it any good?
Liv Tyler is easily as beautiful as the movie's title advertises, fresh and glowing as a hyacinth. In sharp contrast to Lucy, is Alex who is dying of cancer. The friendship between a girl in the blossom of her youth and the writer who borrows her beauty for his pleasure during his last days is both poignant and mature. Rounding out the themes is Lucy's search for the man who actually sired her -- also one of several candidates.
Parents should know that Stealing Beauty is intended for adults (or the most mature of children) only.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the way that some people use sex to gain affection or power. Families can also talk about the importance that has traditionally been attached to virginity, and about how losing that virginity changes a person's life. Why is Lucy so adament about losing her virginity? A discussion of sexual morality might definitely be in order, as might one about the ways that drugs and alcohol can lower inhibitions and make a person behave badly whilst under the influence. How is this reflected in the film?
- In theaters: June 14, 1996
- On DVD or streaming: January 8, 2002
- Cast: Jeremy Irons, Joseph Fiennes, Liv Tyler
- Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
- Studio: Columbia Tristar
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 119 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: sexuality, nudity, some drug use and language
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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