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The Diving Bell and the Butterfly


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Product Details

  • Actors: Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Josée Croze, Anne Consigny, Patrick Chesnais
  • Directors: Julian Schnabel
  • Writers: Jean-Dominique Bauby, Ronald Harwood
  • Producers: François-Xavier Decraene, Jim Lemley, Jon Kilik, Kathleen Kennedy, Léonard Glowinski
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Miramax
  • DVD Release Date: April 29, 2008
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (174 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00104QSOC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,462 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Submerged: A Look inside The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
  • A Cinematic Vision

Editorial Reviews

From Miramax Films and the writer of The Pianist comes one of the most honored and acclaimed motion pictures of 2007. Nominated for 4 Academy Awardsr, this remarkable true story about the power of imagination is a stirring testament to the irrepressible human spirit. Starring an internationally acclaimed cast led by screen legend Max von Sydow, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a must own for any film enthusiast.

Customer Reviews

I am just writing down the things I liked in this film.
L. J Nary
He has really captured the spirit of the story, creating a beautiful touching film, which also provides a visual feast.
Not Miss Havisham
You feel Bauby's will to live and his desire to return to the life that was.
D. Kanigan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Tintin on January 28, 2008
On December 8, 1995, Jean-Dominique Bauby, known as Jean-Do to his intimates, age forty-three, editor-in-chief of the world-famous fashion magazine, Elle, was living the "good life" to the extreme when he became the victim of a devastating cerebro-vascular accident that left him in a state of total paralysis, incapable of any verbal communication, in what is known in the medical community as "locked-in syndrome." His mental faculties totally intact as he laid motionless in his hospital bed, Bauby learned to communicate with the outside world using his left eyelid, the only part of his body over which he still had any control. During the next fourteen months, using a communication code developed by his therapist and his publisher's assistant, who transcribed this code, Bauby was able to compose, letter by letter, a lyrical and heartbreaking memoir of his life struggle, "Le Scaphandrier et le papillon." Bauby died in 1997, two days after its publication.

From Bauby's tragic story, Schnabel has produced an ambitious film which succeeds on all levels. The problem facing Schnabel to bring the book to the screen was how to keep the spectator interested beyond the dramatic situation itself? To this end, he uses several solutions in succession.

The first thirty minutes of the film are entirely shown in subjective camera. Without any mannerisms or filmic embellishment, Schnabel succeeds in making the spectator conscious of the patient's terrible situation and of his feelings facing his state of total helplessness. At this point, the transposition of our mind is such that the profound disquiet goes beyond simple empathy, becoming also physical.

Schnabel builds the suspense by progressively revealing the face of the patient.
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64 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 1, 2008
Format: DVD
Julian Schnabel, well accepted as one of the important visual artists of our time, continues to impress with his small but elite group of films, proving that paintings and cinema are closely related as a means to reach the psyche. In 'Le Scaphandre et le papillon' ('The Diving Bell and the Butterfly') he has transformed the memoir of Jean-Dominique Bauby (with the sensitive screen adaptation by Ronald Harwood) into an experience for the mind and the heart. It is an extraordinary blend of visual effects, poetry, exquisite acting, and the perseverance of the human mind to communicate with the world when all seeming variations of communication are stripped away.

Jean-Dominique (Jean-Do) Bauby (Mathieu Amalric) was the editor of the French magazine 'Elle', living with the beautiful Céline Desmoulins (Emmanuelle Seigner) and their three children, when during a ride with his son he has a massive stroke that leaves him completely paralyzed (the 'locked-in syndrome'). When he awakens from his coma he is able to hear and to see but he cannot speak or move, except for his eyes. From this point we, the audience, experience the world as through the eyes of Jean-Do, share his frustrations of being unable to speak, and in his ultimately having to communicate through the fine skills of his speech therapist Henriette Durand (Marie-Josée Croze) by blinking his eye once or twice for yes or no as each letter of the alphabet is spoken - an arduous task for both patient and visitor. He decides he wants to write his memoirs and Claude (Anne Consigny) is assigned to take his 'dictation'.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Wesley Mullins on February 1, 2008
"Locked-in Syndrome", a fate worse than death afflicts Jean-Dominique Bauby in this true story of the final chapter of the remarkable life of the Elle editor and famous Parisian. With a healthy mind and a useless body, Bauby experiences the horror of only being able to communicate with the outside world by closing one functioning eyelid. Adding to his torturous existence is that Bauby's mind was meant to be shared with the world. As an author, editor and shining member of the intellectual elite, Bauby dazzled those who came in contact with him. When his body died, his great thoughts did not go away. He could not turn off his creativity, his dreams, his desires or his memories...he just had no way to share them.

The first half of "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" details the opening months of that living hell. One could not think of a worse existence than being in a hospital room with a TV turned to an off-air station during the overnight hours when it blares an alarm. With no way of changing the channel or asking for help, he suffers for what must have seemed like an eternity. His days are filled hating the sights of endless doctors, specialists and therapists, all motivated to help their "famous patient", hope not shared by Bauby. All he gains from these visits is an occasional cheap thrill as he's able to ogle one of the many young, Elle reading specialists who dote over him like a superstar.

Nearly all of these scenes are filmed from the POV of Bauby, with his internal thoughts providing sardonic commentary to the action in the hospital room. This provides an uncomfortable presentation, as the audience experiences the realities of his life and thoughts.
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