Beauty in Trouble

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Beauty in Trouble
English-language poster
Directed by Jan Hřebejk
Produced by Ondřej Trojan
Written by Petr Jarchovský
Starring Anna Geislerová
Roman Luknár
Emília Vášáryová
Jana Brejchová
Jiří Schmitzer
Josef Abrhám
Narrated by Petr Jarchovský
Jan Hřebejk
Music by Aleš Březina
Glen Hansard
Cinematography Jan Malíř
Edited by Vladimír Barák
Distributed by Falcon, Sony
Release date
  • 7 September 2006 (2006-09-07)
Running time
110 minutes
Country Czech Republic
Language Czech
Box office $1,491,168

Beauty in Trouble (Czech: Kráska v nesnázích) is a 2006 Czech tragicomedy directed by Jan Hřebejk. Eddie Cockrell, writing in Variety, said the "[t]itle comes from the Robert Graves poem, itself adapted into a Czech popular song in the 1980s, and performed in the film by homegrown thrush Radůza. Germ of the pic's idea was the first line, 'Beauty in trouble flees to the good angel/On whom she can rely...'"[1]


The script is based on Robert Grave's enigmatic poem, Beauty in Trouble and it begins with these words set to music sung by a chanteuse who accompanies herself with an accordion.

Beauty in trouble flees to the good angel

On whom she can rely

To pay her cab-fare, run a steaming bath,

Poultice her bruised eye;

Will not at first, whether for shame or caution,

Her difficulty disclose;

Until he draws a cheque book from his plumage,

Asking her how much she owes;

(Breakfast in bed: coffee and marmalade,

Toast, eggs, orange-juice,

After a long, sound sleep - the first since when?

-And no word of abuse.)

Loves him less only than her saint-like mother,

Promises to repay

His loans and most seraphic thoughtfulness

A million-fold one day.

Beauty grows plump, renews her broken courage

And, borrowing ink and pen,

Writes a news-letter to the evil angel

(Her first gay act since when?)

The fiend who beats, betrays and sponges on her,

Persuades her white is black,

Flaunts vespertilian wing and cloven hoof;

And soon will fetch her back.

Virtue, good angel, is its own reward:

Your dollars were well spent.

But would you to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediment?

Robert Graves

The Plot:

The film is a naturalistic love story about the sex life of a beautiful woman, Marcela, and her concurrent relationships with three men; Jarda, her abusive husband, Risha, her abusive step-father, and Evzen, a dashing, older man she meets shortly after the film begins. With her husband, Jarda, she enjoys lustful sex and his physical abusiveness is an extension of a chauvinism that powers strong sexual encounters, but he is vain and not particularly bright about this. Richard, her mother's husband is unwittingly cruel, like an obnoxious and malicious child. He is played like one of Steve Martins "wild and crazy guys" but more repulsively. Evžen, who becomes Marcela's benefactor/meal ticket, is a man of sophisticated tastes and fortunate parentage, a Czech who has inherited vineyards in Tuscany, to which home he takes Marcela and her two children.

At the beginning of the story, Marcela, Jarda and their children are living in Prague above the garage where Jarda operates his chop shop. She isn't happy with this situation. Jarda couldn't care less how she feels about their situation and is even less interested in the health of their son, who is suffering because of their living conditions. By chance, Jarda's associate steals Evžen’s car, which is equipped with a satellite tracking device and when Jarda goes to prison, Marcela takes her children to her mother's apartment, where they are met with Risha's venomous attention. Marcela despises her mother’s lecherous boyfriend and it eventually comes out that Risha fathered her first child and she escaped into marriage with Jarda at the age of seventeen.

Evžen and Marcela meet at the police station, when they both came to deal with the fate of Jarda. Taken by her, although she doesn't encourage it, Evzen offers to help her and eventually, her children move into Jarda's empty manse in Prague when life with Risha becomes unbearable. Marcela gives herself to Evzen and they move to Italy but when Marcela’s mother dies, she and the children come back to Prague to the funeral where she sees Jarda, now released from prison. She and Jarda have one of their typical sexual encounters and when he speaks to her as he did during their marriage she pushes him away and leaves. Jarda's character is patently chauvinistic, which turns her on but insults her afterwards. When they return to Italy, ironically, Evjzen invites Risha to come with them to live in their guest house.



Critic Roger Ebert rated the film three stars out of four, describing the film as "This is the kind of film that achieves one simple but difficult thing: It pleases you."[2]

Box office[edit]

The film was released on 7 October 2006 in the Czech Republic and as of 2007, has grossed 1,428,703 US$. It was released in the United States on 13 June 2008 and grossed $19,300 in revenue while it acquired $1,471,868 from foreign markets for worldwide total of $1,491,168.[3]



  1. ^ Cockrell, Eddie (July 3, 2006). "Beauty in Trouble". Variety. Retrieved August 27, 2011. 
  2. ^ Ebert, Roger (5 December 2008). "Beauty in Trouble". Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  3. ^ "Beauty in Trouble (2008)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on 19 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 

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