Philip Kaufman’s serious and seriously sexy adaptation of Milan Kundera’s modern masterpiece is perfectly cast, with a young Daniel Day-Lewis all rangy limbs and soulful eyes as the rakish doctor, Tomas.
The contrast between Lena Olin’s woman of the world and Juliette Binoche’s ingenue is also sharply drawn. But the real star of the book is language itself and even intelligent cinema can’t do that very well. Consequently, the marriage of global politics - the setting is the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 - and sexual politics is rockier than in the source novel. Still, it’s arguably every bit as good as Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita.