Recently, Nixon was quoted as saying being gay was a choice; that she'd been gay and straight, and gay was better. In "Puccini for Beginners" (2005), some of the characters have the same "choice." Even as the main character falls for a guy, she keeps reminding him that she's really a lesbian. Two other women in the movie have trouble with this "choice," with differing results. Wisely, the movie doesn't suggest its characters are making a decision about gay v. straight. Their choices are personal -- about loving particular individuals -- rather than abstractions about sexual identity.
That's not all that makes me want to like this film. Here are a couple of other things it had going for it:
1. Julianne Nicholson, who I've just discovered. (See "Little Black Book" Review.) Now I've also discovered her limitations. She's not awful in this film, just not great.
2. Smart characters. They haunt bookstores, where they buy things like Dante's "The Inferno" and poetry by Stanley Kunitz. Knowing Kunitz was U.S. Poet Laureate twice is kind of like knowing who played third base for the 1969 Mets. It's good trivia ... if you're into that particular realm. I am, although I wouldn't pay as much attention to Kunitz if I hadn't known his daughter first.