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The Unbearable Lightness of Being

178 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Daniel Day-Lewis, Juliette Binoche, Lena Olin, Derek de Lint, Erland Josephson
  • Directors: Philip Kaufman
  • Writers: Philip Kaufman, Jean-Claude Carrière, Milan Kundera
  • Producers: Bertil Ohlsson, Paul Zaentz, Saul Zaentz
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Mgm Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 17, 2002
  • Run Time: 171 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (178 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000069I01
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,224 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

181 of 191 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 5, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Phillip Kaufman reached an artistic pinnacle with this elegant translation of Milan Kundera's book about the 1968 Czechoslovokian crisis. Daniel Day-Lewis plays Tomas, a physician, whose life consists in seducing women, one of whom - an artist Sabina (Lena Olin) - is his sexual and spiritual soulmate. Into his life comes another woman, Terezina, (Juliette Binoche) who demands more of a committment to her than he will permit to any woman including Sabina. His crisis between the carefree artist and the more demanding Terezina mirrors the crisis of Czechoslovokia between the "liberation" of the Prague Spring and the Soviet repression of August 1968 although neither Kauffman nor Kundera crudely makes Sabina represent the one nor Terezina the other. Although these characters may lead apparently amoral lives, the film and novel are all about the moral consequences of their choices. Many American critics, similar to the one who provided the first customer review, feel that Kaufmann has simply made a piece of arty Euro-lite soft-core: intellectual and opaque enough to appeal to the high-brow crowd yet tittliating enough to strike at their lowbrow desires. While I'll concede that this judgement applies well to his follow-up film "Henry and June" (1990), it's grossly unfair to characterize this film as such. The narrative and themes are presented clearly, the cinematography is gorgeous but never in an overly-arty way like in "Henry and June", and his whirling direction keeps this film moving along at an effervescent 172 minutes. The actors - especially Day-Lewis and Olin - do phenomenal work and contribute mightily to bring Kaufmann's evocation of late 1960's Europe to life.Read more ›
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134 of 140 people found the following review helpful By Bulent Erolur on February 25, 2002
Format: DVD
I was deeply disappointed when i went through several viewer reviews. This movie is not about love and desire and etc as was commonly stated in most of the reviews. It is about BEING, EXISTANCE,CHOICES AND COINCIDENCES. This movie is based entirely upon the statement 'Einmal ist Keinmal'. The 'unbearable lightness of being' refers to the one and only one single opportunity of a human being to make choices and bear the consequences, since it is not possible to turn back the clock and make a different choice and see the consequences. It is also discussed in the movie, that it is coincidences that guide our lives rather than our evaluations of the situations and our actions(decisions) taken upon our evaluations.
This movie is the best movie i have seen in my whole life, therefore i could not keep silent against the fact that this marvellous piece of work has been misinterpreted by many and hence has been enjoyed to an extent far less than possible.
If you havent seen it yet....
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167 of 180 people found the following review helpful By The Man in the Hathaway Shirt on January 30, 2004
Format: DVD
Now this is a movie!

Perhaps the most amazing thing about this film is that an American directed it. It feels so European, and not faux-European--it needs to be done this way. Or perhaps it's really not so surprising, on second thought. I've long observed how European or Europe-born directors make the best American films (Louis Malle with Atlantic City, Roman Polanski with Chinatown, even Paul Mazursky with Moscow on the Hudson), so why not the reverse?

At any rate, after making a somewhat cynical American movie (The Right Stuff), Kaufman reinvented himself as his exact polar opposite, directing this relatively innocent film about the "Prague Spring" and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. I say "innocent" even though the film is best remembered (in Puritan America at least) for the explicit sex scenes that, to me, are not shocking and are not even the first thing (or second, or third) to come to mind when I think of this marvelous film. Instead I remember Sabina's hat, the quiet moments between her and Tomas, and the feeling pervading the film that life is fleeting, happiness elusive, and life-altering changes lurk around every corner. Instead I marvel at how the film manages to *suggest* the existential novel it came from, even though Kaufman chose not to try to adapt the huge existential portions of Kundera's book. This is a movie about time and place, and indentity, or lack of it; about commitment, about how heavy life seems or doesn't seem dependant upon the government you are stuck with. This is a movie about freedom, who can handle it, and who can't. This is a movie about courage, who has it and who doesn't, and I don't mean just the people who stood up on the tanks.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Michael Paulsen on October 23, 1999
Format: DVD
Wow...unbelievable that someone could give this movie 1 star. You would either have to be clinically dead or so engulfed in film-critique snobbery and technical objectivism (ah, we Americans are so mesmerized by that European chic and intrigue aren't we!) to not be moved by this film. For those who can't handle the erotic overtones, the "shallowness" (I completely disagree here) or can't get around Tomas' womanizing -- it's your loss. The emotions in this movie are far from shallow, it's just that this film refuses to be blatant about them in a typical Hollywood tug-at-your-heartstrings fashion. While the dialogue may seem cold and distant at times, the character's facial expressions (be they blank or not) always manage to betray their innermost thoughts and vulnerabilities.
Of course, this movie will appear slow and drawn out to anyone not accustomed to anything but "Armadeggon" and "Sleepless in Seattle", but I never found it dull. This is one of the most beautiful, human films I've ever come to know.
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Where's the blu ray?
Warner's standard -- the two-disc -- is excellent. But I want a blu-ray of it too.
Jun 10, 2013 by JNagarya |  See all 2 posts
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