Review: The Diving Bell And The Butterfly

There are numerous movies and films that speak the truth about the man’s testament and ever lasting courageousness, yet few can truly resonate those complex emotions with the viewers and deliver them perfectly. The Diving Bell And The Butterfly belongs to this mighty minority. This film illustrated the final years of a paralyzed Magazine editor so beautifully, that elegantly morphed the film from what would be considered a nightmare to an everlasting painting brushed by a gifted artist.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is the remarkable true story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, a successful and charismatic editor-in-chief of French Elle, who believes he is living his life to its absolute fullest when a sudden stroke leaves him in a life-altered state. While the physical challenges of Bauby’s fate leave him with little hope for the future, he begins to discover how his life’s passions, his rich memories and his newfound imagination can help him achieve a life without boundaries.

First off, I feel it is very important to commemorate Mathieu Amalric’s extraordinary talent in creating a character that was so convoluted, so engaging, and so mesmerizing without moving a muscle. He commanded the screen so perfectly with his excellent captured narration of his thoughts and the events that happens around his character. He easily translated the pain of the Locked-In Syndrome without ever grossing us. He truly demonstrated his merits in capturing the spirits of Jean-Dominique Bauby and honoring his struggle. Next comes the outstanding direction and cinematography. Despite the fact that the first-person perspective isn’t new, it is still very hard to do well without turning it into a melodramatic gimmick. At precisely the right moment the film’s perspective changes, and the film adheres more closely to the demands of traditional biography. One by one, screenwriter Ronald Harwood introduces friends and family from Bauby’s life, never in ways you can predict, never in scenes that rest on cliches. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such a fluid blend of flashbacks and dream sequences all merged with scores of marvelous original piano themes. The vision that the direction Julian Schnabel saw with this in unbelievable; from the first artistic shot to the tearful ending scene, his imaginatively-made motion capture is viscerally emotional and sensational, and that’s what movies should be all about.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly proves that our capacity for joy, and our ability to process it through whatever senses are available to us, are more durable than we think. While being Simultaneously uplifting and melancholy suffused, the film invites us to witness the marvelous that is the human spirit and to listen to our inner senses as Bauby noted in his autobiography: “My hearing does not improve, yet I hear them better and better. I must have butterfly hearing.” Outstanding!

The Bottom Line

A+

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Sushi on September 12, 2008 at 3:43 am

    I remember reading so much about this movie when it first got nominated for best picture. I couldn’t find a downloadable version though. Great reviews as always.

    Reply

  2. I saw the trailer for this movie in at a cinema in London last february.

    It brought tears to my eyes T_T. And then I got so involved with the movie we went to (Kite Runner) that I completely forgot about it.

    Thanks for the reminder : ) Glad you enjoyed it.

    Reply

  3. One of last year’s best films, along with La Vie en Rose and 432. I cried in some of the scenes especially knowing that it’s a true story. I mean, who didn’t? the acting is superior and life-like.

    I’m absolutely in love with the film’s name, it got so much philosophy in it. I applaud the foreign directors for beating the hell out of Hollywood.

    Reply

  4. Now that is a deep movie, I’m not really looking for anything deep these days, just simple and entertaining!

    Reply

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