By Pavel's Fortieth Birthday, portrayed compellingly by Jakub Prachař, it becomes evident that he hasn’t entirely grown up. Living with his mother and perpetually lacking the courage to pursue his true passions, life seems to be at a standstill. That is until a serendipitous encounter with his childhood love, Tereza, played by the talented Tereza Ramba. As sparks fly during their adventurous night together, Tereza reveals that she's not ready to change her life for someone who, in her eyes, isn't a 'real man'. This sets Pavel on a transformative journey to prove himself – a journey that leads him to a rigorous training camp in the Tatra Mountains. Guided by Weisner, enacted by Ondřej Sokol, Pavel learns the very essence of masculinity, from wood chopping to the art of wooing women. The burning question remains: Can Pavel overcome his internal obstacles and become the man Tereza desires?
When it comes to Czech and Slovak cinema, it's easy to be critical, given the sporadic quality of content produced. However, "Be the Man" manages to surprise. It’s refreshing and entertaining, especially when compared to other regional productions. Narratively, the film starts strong, although the concluding twenty minutes feel slightly lackluster. The characters, while engaging, often follow predictable arcs. Visually, the film is a treat. It boasts a presentation superior to typical Czech films, filled with captivating shots and artistic compositions. It’s evident that meticulous care went into crafting every scene.
The performances bring a certain warmth and realism to the story. The cast's chemistry, combined with melodious background scores, sets a relaxed tone, making it an ideal watch for a laid-back evening. There's no intricate plot to untangle; it's a straightforward narrative that guarantees a happy ending. The endearing cast amplifies the film's appeal, and the picturesque beauty of the Tatra Mountains acts as a cherry on top. A delightful watch that doesn’t offend, "Be the Man" is one of those movies you might find yourself revisiting.
In the landscape of romantic comedies produced in the region, "Be the Man" undoubtedly stands out as a cut above the rest. While it doesn’t radically redefine the genre, it’s a pleasant reminder that there’s room for light-hearted, feel-good cinema amidst the usual offerings.