The votes are in, and it’s official: Stealing Beauty (Disc/Download) is the sexiest movie ever made. Nobody is more shocked than I, that Bernardo “Pass the Butter” Bertolucci managed to make a film that speaks to the angst of being a woman rather than just a base exploitation of the female body. As a director, he carries us on a journey of personal and sexual awakening, and believe me—it’s a trip you want to take.
Stealing Beauty features Liv Tyler as Lucy, a nineteen-year-old American vacationing at a Tuscan villa owned by family friends. She’s come to Italy to find her birth father and lose her virginity, though not necessarily in that order. A testament to the folly of youth, Lucy thinks she wants her first time to be with predatory playboy Niccoló Donati, never realizing that his shy friend Osvaldo is the real catch. Everyone staying at the villa seems to have an opinion on her love life, making Lucy alternately blush and/or run off into the scrub brush with no shoes. Repeatedly. When the loss of her virginity finally happens, we’re so keyed up as viewers that it honestly does feel like a release. The movie is alive with desire and wanting, placing us right there with her in the rolling, sun-warmed hills of Tuscany.
Because most of the villa’s inhabitants are English, and we all know how the Brits love their gin & tonics, I’ll be enjoying something that combines the flavors of Italy and England. While watching Stealing Beauty, I recommend drinking this Tuscan G&T.
2 ½ oz London dry gin
3 oz Italian dry red wine
½ oz simple syrup
Orange and lime wheels for garnish
Combine gin, wine, and simple syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a glass filled with ice. Top with tonic water, and garnish with orange and lime.
Despite its visual and thematic sensuality, Stealing Beauty isn’t just about sex; it’s about poetry and art and death and above all, life. It’s about being shaken up, to see if you really know yourself inside and out. And of course, it’s about finding joy, whether it’s tits out in a sculpture garden, or diving for sunken treasure in the pool. Cheers!