06/24/1996 at 01:00 AM EDT
, Jeremy Irons
Stealing Beauty is a summer salad, appetizing enough and vibrantly colored, but not terribly filling. This is a small, simple tale about a 19-year-old American (Tyler) who summers in Tuscany with some bohemians, pals of her late mother. She has two goals: to discover the identity of a mystery lover mentioned in her mom's journal and to lose her virginity. Hey, why else go to Europe?
Her youth, beauty and innocence stir the jaded Europeans. Each reacts differently. One puts the make on her, while another (Irons), though dying, is emotionally rejuvenated by his proximity to her. And that's about it. Director Bernardo Bertolucci may think this is all about love and mortality, but mostly it's about coming of age in a scenic setting. Tyler is the standout here. She has the gawky charm of a foal unsure of its ability to stand—and a hopeful sweetness. (R)