Beauty in Trouble
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Beauty in Trouble explores a young woman's romantic dilemma: torn between a primal connection and the need to provide for her children, she loves two men. Set against the back drop of the recent floods in Prague, Beauty in Trouble is full of unexpected tw
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The film began on a grim note. After catastrophic flooding by the Vltava River in Prague, Marcela, Jarda, and their son and daughter were living in their house which was still damp and moldy, with water-swollen doors that won't open, and Jarda's continuous abuse of Marcela. Eventually Marcela took her children and moved in with her mother, Zdena (Jana Brejchová), and her mother's creepy, lecherous boyfriend, Richard (Jirí Schmitzer). While they were there, Jarda was arrested for stealing a car, and when Marcela went to the police station to see him, she met Evzen, whose expensive car was the one that Jarda had stolen. Their relationship blossomed, and after the situation with her mother and Richard became unbearable, Marcela and her children moved in with Evzen. At that point, the film could have had a "lived happily ever after" ending, but there were several more twists and turns to come. In the end, Marcela had to make a very difficult choice between security and love, and that's where the film left us hanging.
So many movies today rely on special effects and blowing things up that it was very enjoyable to sit back and see real actors plying their trade, playing three-dimensional characters and evoking genuine emotional responses from the viewer. It was easy to dislike Jarda and Richard; on the other hand, Marcela, her children, and Evzen were very likeable characters. Marcela came across as a good mother and a woman who wanted it all - security and stability, but also romance and lustful sex.
The film has not been rated by the MPAA. After viewing it, my guess would be "PG" with one brief sex scene.
A DVD of the film was provided to me on the promise of an honest, unbiased review.
Within minutes I was hitting myself for my prior cover-judgements (that old addage, "never judge a book by its cover" seems to be much more applicable to films these days).
What unfolded before me was nothing less than cinematic poetry, which is appropriate due to the fact that it is adapted from a Robert Graves poem of the same title. The film takes place in a troubled part of Prague, both aesthetically and economically, just after the 2002 floods. It is here where we are introduced to our "Beauty", Marcela (the gourgeous Anna Geislerova). A young mother of two, her situation is thus: living in a shamble of a flat connected to her husband's illegal chop shop. However in all this ruin there is one saving factor in their relationship, the sex. Unfortunately, the sex won't keep their children healthy and happy. With this in mind Marcela takes them and moves into her mother's just after her husband, Jarda, is arrested for stealing a car from a wealthy vintner, Evzen Benes(Josef Abrham).
Upon moving in with her mother we are introduced to two of the more charismatic characters of the film, as well as Hrebejk's true talents as a director; his ability to make you both truly hate and love everyone in his films. What Marcela and her kids move into is nothing short of comedic justice, a loving yet overly-timid mother and an evil stepfather (think the grinch with a comedic streak) who's first question to Marcela's tween daughter is if "she's been felt up by any boys lately" and for an encore offers Marcela's even younger son a beer. His sharp tongue and backwards idea of generosity know no ends.
One day while visiting her husband in jail Marcela runs into Evzen, who not only provides Jarda with a lawyer but begins a strangely satisfying courtship with Marcela. He houses them in his Czech residence, takes them on trips to his vineyard home in Tuscany, even going as far to inviting Richard, the stepfather, along as well.
The outcome, you must see for yourself. However it's not the plot that drives this movie, but everything else. From the soundtrack which is brilliantly incorporated into the movie, to the sheer beauty of locations (Prague, Tuscany, etc.) But the real driving force in this film is Hrebejk's keen eye for detail as well as his truly unconditional love for every character in this film. He does this brilliantly by using humorous character flaws that somehow make each character seem even stronger.
Fans of single-dimensional movies beware, there is no black and white in this film. It is this sea of grey that causes you to hate to love the "good guys" and love to hate the "bad guys." Woody Allen fans and fans of intelligent humor alike, you know what im talking about, and will find yourself wondering whether or not Jan Hrebejk might be a long lost Czech cousin of his.
In Czech with English subtitles.
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