Saturday, May 31, 2008

DVD Review: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly


The Diving Bell and the Butterfly ****
Directed by Julian Schnabel
Written by Ronald Harwood, based on the book by Jean-Dominique Bauby
Starring Mathieu Almalric and Max von Sydow

Picture yourself in this situation: Your a big editor at a big fashion magazine. You may be in your 40's, but your living life like your 20's. Even though you are an adulterer, you love your kids and you know your mistakes. Then one day it stops. You unexpectedly suffer a massive stroke. You fall into a coma, and when you wake up the only thing moving are your eyes. It turns out your right eye has to be sewn up because it has lost it's moisture. Your left eye is your only portal to the world.

That is what Jean-Dominique Bauby had to experience.

The movie, based on the book he dictated while blinking his left eye through a creative method, is a marvelous work of a art. what could of been a cheesy, cliched movie, is instead a film about creativity and the human spirit. Thank Julian Schnabel for his direction and Janusz Kaminski for his cinematography. For the first twenty minutes of the film, you are Bauby. The camera moves around like a curious animal, looking at the world he can only see. You want to see more, but you can't, since Bauby can move a muscle. All you see are wonderful colors and light. Even though you are down, you still have your spirit. Thank the cast for the heartfelt performances, especially that of Mathieu Almalric, as Bauby, and Swedish legend Max von Sydow, as his father. Almalric just doesn't read the lines, he lives them. Who knew that one person can convey so much emotion as totally crippled man. von Sydow delivers the goods in a performance that breathes humor and intense emotion. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is one of those films you will never forget. A truley magnificent work about the human spirit. It sends you on an emotional roller coaster. If you do not feel moved by this film, there is something wrong with you.

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