Pupendo and Up and Down director Jan Hrebejk thoughtfully ponders the effect of contemporary events on traditional Czech culture with this engrossing tale of the unlikely romance shared between a desperate young mother and a kindly, but… More Pupendo and Up and Down director Jan Hrebejk thoughtfully ponders the effect of contemporary events on traditional Czech culture with this engrossing tale of the unlikely romance shared between a desperate young mother and a kindly, but much older, Czech expatriate. Effectively rendered destitute by the floods that washed through Prague in 2002, struggling young father and husband Jarda (Roman Luknar) eventually resorts to stripping stolen cars as a means of supporting his impoverished family. Jarda's wife Marcela (Anna Geislerová) is having difficulty accepting her husband's nefarious new career, though, and before long she is packing her bags and rounding up the kids to seek shelter with her mother. Life at her mother's house isn't easy thanks to the constant presence of her mean-spirited stepfather Richard (Jiri Schmitzer), but it simply seems as if there is no place left to go and Marcela's options have run dry. Meanwhile, aging Czech émigré Benes (Josef Abrhám) is traveling to Prague from his home in Tuscany in order to reclaim a house that was previously seized by the communists. When Benes and Marcela meet in a chance encounter and the benevolent older man clearly takes a liking to the beautiful young woman, the prospect of securing a stable future for her young children soon prompts the confused Marcela to consider leaving her beloved husband behind in order to make a permanent home with the elegant but elderly foreigner.
Consensus: A complex, affecting multi-character drama, Beauty in Trouble also works as social history and as a tale of familial trials and tribulations.