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The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  5 February 1988 (USA)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 22,870 users  
Reviews: 128 user | 36 critic

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.

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Title: The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)

The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988) on IMDb 7.4/10

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Franz
...
The Ambassador
Pavel Landovský ...
Pavel
...
Chief Surgeon
...
Interior Ministry Official
...
The Engineer
Tomasz Borkowy ...
Jiri (as Tomek Bork)
Bruce Myers ...
Czech Editor
Pavel Slabý ...
Pavel's Nephew
Pascale Kalensky ...
Nurse Katja
Jacques Ciron ...
Swiss Restaurant Manager
Anne Lonnberg ...
Swiss Photographer
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Storyline

Tomas is a doctor and a lady-killer in 1960s Czechoslovakia, an apolitical man who is struck with love for the bookish country girl Tereza; his more sophisticated sometime lover Sabina eventually accepts their relationship and the two women form an electric friendship. The three are caught up in the events of the Prague Spring (1968), until the Soviet tanks crush the non-violent rebels; their illusions are shattered and their lives change forever. Written by Dan Hartung <dhartung@mcs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

soviet | doctor | tank | sex | invasion | See more »

Taglines:

A Lovers Story.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 February 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La insoportable levedad del ser  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$17,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$10,006,806 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lena Olin's American film debut. See more »

Goofs

When the man from Ministry from Interior was urging Tomas to sign the statement, Tomas clearly mouthed "it's bullsh*t" but no audio can be heard. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
First Title Card: In Prague, in 1968, there lived a young doctor named Tomas...
Tomas: Take off your clothes.
[line recurs several times during film]
See more »

Connections

Edited into Visions of Light (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Personal meaning in love, in expression, and between ordinary people
20 October 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)

I liked this book a lot, and I like director Philip Kaufman's approach to movies. The best of this movie is terrific, as well: the wild culture of personal and cultural freedom at the start, the chilling invasion of Soviet tanks in the center, and the last half hour of idealized romance and happiness in the country.

That kind of gives away the movie, it would seem. But in a way, the movie is about how all these things happen. This is where it gets to be about taste and patience. It's a long movie, and much of the events are not really a development of plot, but a steady continuation of a variety of relationships (mainly between the lead man and the two main women). There is a plot behind all this, especially around their leaving Czechoslovakia and then finding a return to bliss in the Czech countryside, but this doesn't drive the movie overall.

For me, it wasn't enough to see these people enjoying sex and discovering conflicts between the three legs of the love triangle. Scenes were often leisurely in a way that implies we were glad to just be there and watch things happen within a pocket of frozen time, rather than through time. By that I mean, it wasn't where you were going with the emotional aspects, but it was where you were, the now of the interactions. The might actually be where the book was so successful--it created moods and scenes where you were, actually, glad to just be absorbed. For me, that wasn't always the case in the film version.

Part of the problem might just be Daniel Day Lewis, who is a bit too self-satisfied, not as a character (that is certain) but as an actor. He lacks the magnetism that might sustain the unlikely and ongoing love the two women have for him, even as they know about each other. On the other hand, it's a huge, epic tale about true freedom, and a very real pursuit of happiness. And when the energy gets going, and the mood is fully expanded, there is magic. Especially, again, at the end, including the famous fade to white in the last frames, it is about a kind of heaven on earth. Who can object to that?


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Awful, bad, horrible movie. schtrunfe
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