Friday, 22 February 2008

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly Review

Some days its hard to write anything, be it a screenplay, a review or even a long put off letter. You can't find the right words, you may be worried at the final outcome and you will do anything to put it off. Now imagine if to write a single word you had to listen to each letter of the alphabet and blink when you hear the right one. While this film has an extra level of depth for anyone who takes great care or interest in the written word, the true quality of this film is that it is important for absolutley everyone living and breathing.

A true story of the editor of Elle magazine, Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric), who at the age of 43 had a stroke that left him trapped in his body. Initially wanting the easier option of death he soon learns to live with his condition and carry on in spite of it. Tooled with his imagination, his memory and his left eye he sets out to write his story - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

While a film can never truly capture what it must feel like to have 'locked in' syndrome, this does a fine job of illustrating Jean Do's life. Flashbacks show him before the event but the real weight is in seeing what he sees, knowing he is unable to do anything about it. From a television set being switched off mid football match to the billowing of a skirt, hinting at something he will never get to enjoy again, the choice of point of view is heartbreaking.

While it may be the worst thing that ever happened to him it gives him the chance to see the best in people, in life and in himself. And crucially a sense of humour remains. Its this sense of humour that finally released the tears that from the beginning I was sure would come. Above all this film is ridiculously inspiring. When I am king this will be first projected on the wall, shown to everyone by law. It is really that important.

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