Kolya

1997

Kolya (1997)

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55-year-old Louka (Zdenek Sverak) is a gifted musician in Czechoslovakia who once made a good living playing in the State Symphony Orchestra. However, he has little use for the government, and after putting a playfully insulting statement on a government form, he's been banished from official music making. He ekes out a living by giving private lessons, painting gravestones with gold leaf, and performing at funerals. Louka also likes to chase younger women, a surprisingly number of whom are more than happy to be caught. However, when a friend suggests marriage to a stranger, Louka is unexpectedly willing to consider the matter. It seems that Broz (Ondrej Vetchy), a gravedigger and a good friend of Louka's, has a niece, Nadezda (Irena Livanova), with a young son who wants to stay in Czechoslovakia. However, she's a Russian citizen and lacks the proper papers. In order to stay, the young mother needs to marry a Czech citizen, and she and her aunt are willing to pay a "husband" for his troubles. Louka, hard up for cash and in need of a used car, grudgingly agrees to the arrangement and weds Nadezda. However, once she has her papers, Nadezda heads for West Germany to be with her boyfriend, and after her aunt unexpectedly dies, Louka finds himself in custody of his new "stepson," six-year-old Kolya (Andrei Khalimon). A confirmed bachelor, Louka knows next to nothing about taking care of a child, and he discovers that parenthood cramps his style with the ladies. However, Louka and Kolya soon become good friends, and Louka finds his outlook on life beginning to change, just as the "Velvet Revolution" sounds the call of a new era in Czechoslovakia. Kolya won both the Academy Award and the Golden Globe as Best Foreign Language Film of 1997. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Kolya

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (7)

As an Oscar nominee, Kolya lacks the cinematic dazzle of France's Ridicule. But no one can claim that its emotional clout isn't earned.

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4
USA Today
Top Critic

Adorable kid transforms womanizer in poignant Oscar winner.

Jul 25, 2012 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Disappoints as a lumbering mainstream pic that is all too familiar to Americans.

Feb 9, 2004 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

...one of those beautiful, sweet, buttery-lit movies that will leave all but the bitterest cynics smiling.

Aug 28, 2002 | Rating: B

With his big sad eyes, Andrej Chalimon pulls us lovingly and completely into Kolya's life. He's simply perfect as a little Russian refugee in this poignant movie treasure.

Jun 24, 2002 | Full Review…

Let Kolya work its magic upon your heart.

Feb 26, 2002 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Kolya

A 50-something musician, out of favour with the government and no longer able to play the gigs he's capable of - the ones that pay best, of course - and accepts a payment to marry a Russian woman so she can leave the Soviet Union. Along with her comes a son, and when she flees for West Germany, she leaves the boy behind. What follows is the story of the bond created between man and boy reluctantly cast into a father-son relationship. There's plenty of honest comedy and touching moments as the two become close, despite not even speaking the same language, and the fall of communism and the independence of Czechoslovakia colour in the background to make for a wonderful film.

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

Kolya is an adorable and charming light drama of a Russian child unexpectedly changing the course of the life of a "father" in question. A genius mix of light drama and humor. The enchanting story, solid performances, and profound soundtrack paramount to a genuine magical experience for the heart.

Jan Marc Macababayao
Jan Marc Macababayao

Super Reviewer

½

A charming film with solid performances. KOYLA celebrates the life and trials of a middle-aged cellist in Prague during the Soviet occupation. Louka plays the cello like an angel, but seduces married women with his devilish charm. All this changes when he inherits a young boy from an arranged marriage. The uneasy relationship between man and boy blossoms into mutual affection. Beautifully filmed, KOYLA ranks high as a must-see movie!

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

½

Proof that originality isn't everything. Kolya plays out like so many sentimental pieces of guff. Grouchy old womanising man is left with a child he doesn't want. Of course he starts to care for the child and they bond, igniting a part of the man he never knew existed. It succeeds by first placing it in a setting of political unrest. Second, it creates a language barrier between the boy and man, making the sparks of friendship even more affective. Last, the young boy isn't precocious or irritating. He's a sweet boy, and the performance is one of heartwarming realism. It all becomes a bit too sweet and sugary, but at least it ends with it's dignity in tact.

Luke Baldock
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

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