This movie is already a special one, due to its subject. It all sounds so unlikely and not even all that interesting; a movie told from the viewpoint of a paralyzed man, who can only still movie one of his eyes, due to a real severe stroke. But the end result is actually being a very engaging movie and it's all way more accessible and likable, than you perhaps would expect.

Even while the main character is locked inside his own body in this movie, it is a far from boring movie and there is still plenty happening in it, which is also all largely due to its lively main character. Despite being completely immobilized, he still finds the time and courage to write a novel and maintain his relationship with his mistress as well as his wife and family. It adds a lot that the story is purely being told from his viewpoint, since it puts us into his imaginative and very lively mind and helps us to understand him and see things the way he does.

What I also liked was that it wasn't really necessarily following a story. It just chronicles the period of Jean-Dominique Bauby's paralysis and it shows things as they happened, without every dramatizing or throwing in any other false clich├ęs and emotions. It's all based on a true story and the novel that got written by the real Jean-Dominique Bauby 'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly', with just his left eye.

Actually, the movie isn't even being all that dramatic at all. It doesn't want you to feel sorry for its main character and it often focuses on the positive instead. Really, if you are afraid this movie might be a bit too heavy or serious for you, don't worry because it really isn't. It's often entertaining actually and it won't make you feel (too) depressed afterward.

Visuall it's also a great movie, with Janusz Kaminski's cinematography and some nimble editing. It's really a visually imaginative movie, which also often earned this movie an artistic label, which unfortunately will only scare off a lot of people, from ever watching this. But trust me. This movie is far from pretentious and remains perfectly accessible, at all times, with all of its themes.

What I also really would like to mention is Max von Sydow's performance. Perhaps it's the most underrated thing about this entire movie. He was truly superb, in a completely French speaking role and most of the movie its emotions come from his character, even though he isn't an awful lot in it.

Really a special movie, that works on different levels than you perhaps would anticipate.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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