This black comedy from the great Milos Forman acts as a satire of Czech society, but you don't need to understand that to appreciate this movie. The situations this girl gets herself into are so funny that you can't help laughing out loud, but at the same time you feel sorry for her, and it's this balance between humor and bitter realism that Forman achieves perfectly. Because as ridiculous as some of the characters seem, and as silly as the dialogue can be, he definitely captures some truths here about the human condition. The movie overall has a low-budget feel to it, but the acting doesn't, and even though most of the cast are amateurs, their inexperience doesn't show.
Mildly creepy atmosphere, with some twists I definitely didn't see coming. But maybe that's because the character development and plot were so bad that I wasn't even motivated enough to try to predict what would happen. One of the scariest scenes involves a possessed toilet, and no I'm not joking.
If I could choose one word to describe this movie, it would be "spectacle" -- and what a grand, marvelous spectacle it is! Everything here is designed to be stimulating to the eyes and ears, so let your mind take a break and enjoy letting this epic romance whisk you away. The gorgeous costumes, sets, cinematography, and especially choreography are nearly flawless, and Kidman, McGregor, and the rest of the cast pull off such passionate and captivating performances that you never want to look away. Even if the humor is too campy at times, or the love story too contrived, it's still beautifully executed and not to be missed by anyone who even occasionally likes musicals.
I wish someone could have written the script that John Malkovich's performance deserved, because this standard, cliche thriller fare wasn't it. There's so much more going on in the book, psychologically speaking, but this is another disappointing example of a movie adaptation stripping the book it's based on down to the bare bones.