peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2012 03 12 TheUnbearableLightnessOfBeing

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

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Despite the faces of Daniel Day-Lewis, Juliette Binoche and Lena Olin running through my mind while reading the book, the movie is a bit of a let down. Binoche is childish here and it's hard to fathom what a hardened womaniser like Day-Lewis would see in her; moreover her "you're jealous!" bit somewhere in the first hour made me cringe, and the nudity tends to the vacuous if not the downright exploitative. Perhaps Kundera made Tereza too much of a cypher; the babe in the bullrushes Tomas cannot abandon, and Kaufman felt women's bodies could stand in for the plot. The philosophical musings of the book would have been better abandoned rather than used as stilted pillow-talk. Olin's Sabina is the most memorable of the three. It is patently dishonest to run the whole thing in English... though for all that, this is maybe the canonical late-80s accessible European arthouse effort.