The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)

R   |    |  Drama, Romance


The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988) Poster

In 1968, a Czech doctor with an active sex life meets a woman who wants monogamy, and then the Soviet invasion further disrupts their lives.


7.3/10
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  • Daniel Day-Lewis and Lena Olin in The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)
  • Juliette Binoche in The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)
  • Lena Olin in The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)
  • Juliette Binoche and Daniel Day-Lewis in The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)
  • Daniel Day-Lewis and Daniel Olbrychski in The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)

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25 July 2003 | csm23
Only what is heavy has value
Imagine you're at the theater attending a live performance, a truly living performance in which both axioms and mythological truths are entered into and shared by actors and audience alike. Now suppose that the backdrop for all the action is dark, oppressive, and heavy, while all that transpires before it is light, glib, and ineffectual. Now consider that, through the course of the play, all that is bouncy and trivial becomes overwhelmed and absorbed by the gravity of the background, like light being sucked into the gravity of a black hole, so that what was once meaningless and unimportant and even silly becomes increasingly momentous and important and valuable as the play progresses. If you can see this outline in your mind's eye, you have a good idea about The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera's novel by the same name brought to life as a movie. The film, like the novel, declares one thing: `only necessity is heavy, and only what is heavy has value.' I so love this idea, this earth shattering insight: it effortlessly capsizes our Postmodern zeitgeist in one innocuous little phrase. And the film expresses it beautifully.

Set in the Prague Spring of 1968, when the Soviets put down Dubcek's `Socialism with a Human Face,' the weight of these events draws the lives of a Czech doctor, his wife, and his lovers, into its orbit. And instead of crushing them, as one might assume, it becomes the fire that purifies gold. Tomas (Daniel Day-Lewis), for example, had previously written a treatise on Oedipus, a witty exercise in sophistry aimed at the Communist regime as a provocative analogy, nothing more. But as the essay becomes an object of obsession to the Communists, we see Kundera's definition of vertigo come into play. It is not the fear of falling, but the soul's defense against the desire to fall. Tomas wanted to fall. Why? Watch the movie, and find out for yourself.

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Details

Release Date:

5 February 1988

Language

English


Country of Origin

Sweden, USA

Filming Locations

Prague, Czech Republic

Box Office

Budget:

$17,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$202,189 7 February 1988

Gross USA:

$10,006,806

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,006,806

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