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.



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

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13 March 2013 | BeneCumb
| Too uneven and too long - but with great performances
Although the screenplay is based on the great and world-famous book by Milan Kundera, it was written by others (Jean-Claude Carrière and the director Philip Kaufman) and thus lost its original touch and approach - as was pointed out by Kundera himself who withdrew from the outcome. On the other hand, fragile feelings, ponderings and internal doubts are very difficult to express on the screen - without losing the pace and uniformity of the plot. It is also pity that Prague was not / could not been used, as it is a beautiful city and gives more realism than the French places used. Depicion of the socialist/communist oppression is, however, rather perfunctory, seeming not so serious as it really was in the 1970ies within the Warsaw block when hopes of intellectuals for the so-called human-faced socialism vanished as liberal steps were diminished or repealed.

The cast is, of course, brilliant, in particular the bohemian ménage à trois members: Daniel Day-Lewis as Tomas, Juliette Binoche as Tereza and Lena Olin as Sabina - all later multiple Academy Award winners and/or nominees, and from different European countries (the movie itself is still the US one). They and some other fine European actors have provided the movie a real European atmosphere, without a Hollywood studio feeling as sometimes perceived in "older" movies.

Nevertheless, The Unbearable Lightness of Being is still a movie high above average, enhancing historical facts as well. But it is hard to say whether is is recommendable to read the book before or after...

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