• The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1997)

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Release Date: March 11th, 1997

DVD Release Date: September 14th, 1999

R |2 hr 51 min

Plot Summary

Successful surgeon Tomas (Daniel Day-Lewis) leaves Prague for an operation, meets a young photographer named Tereza (Juliette Binoche), and brings her back with him. Tereza is surprised to learn that Tomas is already having an affair with the bohemian Sabina (Lena Olin), but when the Soviet invasion occurs, all three flee to Switzerland. Sabina begins an affair, Tom continues womanizing, and Tereza, disgusted, returns to Czechoslovakia. Realizing his mistake, Tomas decides to chase after her.

Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Juliette Binoche, Lena Olin, Derek de Lint, Erland Josephson, Pavel Landovsk√Ĺ, Donald Moffat, Daniel Olbrychski

Director: Philip Kaufman

Genres: Drama

Keywords: Temptation , Escape , 1960s , Tense , Love triangle

Ratings & Reviews

  • 100
    Roger EbertChicago Sun-Times

    There is a lot of nudity in the film but no pornographic documentary quality; the camera does not linger, or move for the best view, or relish the spectacle of nudity. The result is some of the most poignant, almost sad, sex scenes I have ever seen - sensuous, yes, but bittersweet. show more

  • 88
    Bob ThomasThe Associated Press

    A movie in the grand tradition of storytelling. It is intimate yet epic, a compelling human triangle played against the cataclysm of the 1968 Soviet invasion. [15 March 1988]

  • 63
    Hal BoedekerMiami Herald

    Lightness' greatest contribution will be to send people to Kundera's book. As a film, it is thoughtful and well-meaning but long and uneven. The filmmakers' love for their subject recalls a line from Kundera's book: "His love for Tereza was beautiful, but it was also tiring." That's what sitting through Lightness is like. [26 Feb 1988, p.C1]

See all critic reviews on metacritic.com


Nominated Writing (Screenplay - Based on Material From Another Medium)
Nominated Cinematography
Nominated Best Performance By an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Nominated Best Motion Picture - Drama
Winner Adapted Screenplay
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1989)