Movie Review: 'The Diving Bell And The Butterfly'

January 23, 2008 By:
Movie Review: 'The Diving Bell And The Butterfly'

A remarkable film! Masterwork from director Julian Schnabel (Before Night Falls, Basquiat) who deserves all the acclaim that he has already received for this wonderful accomplishment. The movie is near perfect. Every emotion that can be felt, I felt with such depth. There are even moments where I felt trapped, claustrophobic, useless, drained… similarities comparable to the lead character Jean-Dominique Bauby. Nominated for 4 Oscars (Best Director, Editing, Cinematography, Adapted Screenplay), winner of best feature film at the Audience Awards, as well as, Best Director and the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival, and Best Director at this years Golden Globes.

An unforgettable true story of Elle (France) magazine editor Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric), who in 1995 suffered a terrible stroke that paralyzed his entire body from head to toe… except his left eye. Leaving his body completely motionless, Jean-Dominique was trapped inside his own being, with nothing but his left eye capable of blinking. At age 43, using nothing but his left eye, Jean-Dominique communicated by blinking his way into writing out his memoir. With the help of an unbelievable hospital staff, who were more enthusiastic and determined for Jean-Dominique’s recovery than himself, Bauby was taught how to blink letters which would soon articulately and passionately describe what he was feeling in his trapped inner world. His mind was his escape, and there was nothing that Jean-Dominique could not imagine. All the things that he wanted to do, at the places that he wanted to visit, all the people he wanted to see and meet, all imagined from inside his mind, allowed him to escape into unimaginable worlds, which he soon incorporated into his amazing memoir. This film packs such an emotion filled punch with every frame, the theater I experienced it with had nothing but the utmost praise when the credits began to roll, giving “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” the standing ovation it so definitely deserved.

To keep saying this movie was amazing would just be repetition. I was enthralled throughout. As a viewer, you can’t help but pray for Jean-Dominique to eventually pull through. His accomplishments leave you knowing that anything is possible. Although, I just saw this film yesterday, I can surely walk right back into that theater today and comfortably enjoy it all over again. The cinematography is compelling, the acting is overpowering, and the directing is one of a kind. Congratulations to Julian Schnabel, on his masterpiece.

Pat the Movie Critic gives “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” --- 4 ½ Scoops.