Stealing Beauty (1996) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • After her mother commits suicide, a young woman travels to Italy in search of love, truth and a deeper connection with herself.

    Will S
  • Lucy, an American teenager arriving in the lush Tuscan countryside to visit her mother's friends, Diana and her husband, Irish artist Ian residing there. She visited there four years earlier and exchanged a kiss with a handsome boy, Niccoló with whom she hopes to become reacquainted. Her mother, poet Sara has committed suicide since then, and she also hopes to discover the identity of her father, whom her mother hinted was a resident of the villa. Once she arrives, she meets a variety of eccentric visitors, including a dying gay playwright Alex, M. Guillaume, an old deranged New York art gallery owner, Diana's daughter from a previous marriage, jewelry designer Miranda, her boyfriend, an entertainment lawyer Richard, Noemi, a column writer and several others. Lucy has decided to lose her virginity and becomes an object of intense interest to the men of the household, but the suitor she finally selects is not the initial object of her affection. Stealing Beauty boasted an intriguing parallel between actress Tyler's role and her real life. The daughter of a famed rock and roll star, she was brought up believing that her father was someone else, a fact that Bertolucci may have had in mind when writing the story.

  • For 20 years many visitors have come to the villa on an Italian hilltop owned by an English artist. Lucy, a 19-year-old American, was last there four years ago and wants to meet up again with the young Italian who kissed her and corresponded for a while. And she has brought the diary of her late mother filled with enigmatic poems that suggest Lucy was conceived on that hilltop. Lucy wants to find out if Daddy is the Italian war correspondent who wrote to her mother for 20 years. Then again Daddy could be the dying English playwright in residence or the artist who uses a chainsaw on tree trunks for his sculptures. The three, of course, have no idea that Lucy is there to solve a mystery. They, the artist's wife, daughter of that wife and the daughter's American lover are most intrigued by Lucy's virginity.

  • Lucy Harmon is a 19-year old American girl who is the daughter of poet Sara Harmon. After Sara commits suicide, Lucy travels to Italty and visits her mother's friends, Diana and her husband, Irish artist Ian, where Lucy wants a picture of her painted. Lucy decided to return to Italy to reunite with Nicolo Donati, a Italian boy she once fell in love with four years ago, when she last visited Italy. But reuniting with Nicolo isn't the only reason why Lucy decided to return to Italy, Lucy is on a personal journey, as she sets out to solve a mystery in her Mother's diary and discover who her father is who conceived her 20 years ago. Lucy's journey leads her to befriend Alex, a play-writer who is dying of cancer whom Lucy thinks may be her father or her father could be the artist who makes statutes from trees and sets out to lose her virginity as Diana and her daughter Miranda's boyfriend Richard become intrigued by her.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • This is the summer when young Lucy, a 19-year-old American, has decided to lose her virginity. For the summer holidays, she arrives in a beautiful place in Tuscany, a villa on a hilltop owned by an English artist, where she discovers different interesting people of different age at different stages of life, of different commitment, understanding, and sexuality.

    Her dead mother left Lucy her diary which points out she was conceived on this very hilltop, but doesnt say who her father is; Lucy has to find out.

    Lucy also wants to give herself to the young Italian, Nicolo, who kissed her four years ago, but she discovers that life is not always what you have decided, especialy when love is concerned, it is not that simple, but it is beautiful. She takes in all this beauty. We all steal beauty from the world. We need it as we live, as we create (the object of the artist, or creating life), as we comply to life, as one's loses one's virginity.

    Life feeds on stealing beauty, before becoming beauty itself. Lucy has grown up.

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