Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
Stunning in its beauty and excellence
on May 9, 2012
This is an amazing film experience. Julian Schnabel, the director, is also an artist and this movie shows off his talent for capturing beauty. The film is in French because it is about a real person who happened to be French and Schnabel recognized it would make more sense to maintain that identity. Plus French is a beautiful language that matches the gorgeous look and style of the film. Anyway, it is about Jean-Dominique Bauby, the editor of the French version of Elle magazine, who in the prime of his life has a stroke that causes him to be mute and paralyzed from the neck down. Doesn't sound too uplifting, does it? But it is...because the film shows flashbacks to his exciting life before the stroke and the people in the hospital are very loving and dedicated to getting him speaking again. The speech therapist and physical therapist are also drop dead gorgeous, which adds to his torment in the beginning but also makes them ideal characters for entering his dreams and imagination -- his best tools for maintaining the will to live in the early stages of therapy.
What makes the film so interesting (besides the amazing performance of lead actor Mathieu Amalric) is that in the beginning the viewer sees everything from Bauby's perspective. When he wakes up in the hospital, you are him looking at the faces that come up close to you so they can examine your body and check your progress. When Bauby blinks, you blink. When Bauby's eye is sewn up because it is in danger of becoming septic, you see it from his perspective. It is like your own eye is being stitched closed. Later in the film, you see Bauby's face and no longer from a first person perspective. But since you've virtually been him for the first 20 or so minutes of the film, you now are very connected to his character. I can't recommend this movie enough. It is stunning in its excellence.