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A flood in Prague has damaged Marcela and Jarda's home. He behaves boorishly over their son's asthma so she threatens divorce and takes the kids to her mom's, a possessive woman whose husband is a creep. While Marcela is there, Jarda is jailed for possession of a stolen car (he's a mechanic who's turned his garage into a chop shop). Benes, the urbane man whose car it is, befriends Marcela, and soon she has options. Jarda's mother and her mother push her in opposite directions. Jarda has animal magnetism, Benes offers security, and her own body and mind may be at cross purposes. The Cold War is over, Czechs are free to behave well or badly. What's best?Written by
This is a slice-of-life film. If it does not strain your credulity, it may well strain your patience. Marcela, a hot young babe with a couple of cute kids and nothing else going for her, moves in with her obnoxious relatives after the Vltava floods and her Prague home is destroyed. Her obnoxious husband, once a mechanic, joins a chop shop to make ends meet. Soon the husband is arrested and imprisoned, and Marcela begins divorce proceedings against him.
Then she meets and is befriended by a kind, socially skilled Czech expat twenty or so years her senior. He lives like a prince on his sun-washed vined estate in Tuscany, visits Prague every few months to look after a property he owns, and has zero in common with Marcela. But he has an eye for beauty, so he pursues her quietly. The Beauty of the title is in trouble because, although employed, she is substantially unable to provide for herself, so she allows herself to be courted. Once in Italy, she spends a lot of time diving, to no purpose other than exhibiting her body to the camera, into the expat's sun-washed swimming pool.
To the extent there is any dramatic tension in this film it is whether Marcela will grow in understanding and somehow change her tawdry life. Unfortunately there is almost no character development in the film. The relatives never change. Marcela's husband never changes. Marcela's suitor never changes. It would spoil the ending if I revealed whether Marcela changes, but you can probably guess.
Is the film some elaborate metaphor for the confrontation of East and West, of Communism and capitalism? It may well be, and that adds a level of meaning. The cinematography, including scenes of Prague and Italy, is also lovely, and the acting is fine. The script, unfortunately, is weak.
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