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on November 23, 2017
This is PG-13 and I thought it would be a good informative movie for my family and slightly older kids, as a means to show empathy to those who deal with disability. It was interesting and well done, other than the fact I had to turn it off in the middle of it. I know everyone has their personal parenting approaches but mine doesn't include showing my kids boobs, especially in the context of sexual yeah...maybe not as family friendly as the ratings make it seem. Just a heads up.
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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.
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on June 12, 2015
This movie drove me to get the book and then read that. Both cause me to ask some of life's most meaningful questions. What is important and what is not important? What is hope and why do some people with major losses have hope while others with relatively minor losses loose all hope? Since reading and viewing both the book and the movie, there is rarely a 24 hour period where I don't use the movie and the book in living, setting priorities, etc.
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on December 19, 2016
Camera use and photography of what Jean Do sees is incredibly excellent.This is a powerful true life story that not one of us wold want yet somehow this incredibly courageous man found a purpose in what certainly would look like a no purpose life. Bravo Jean Do and Bravo Schnabel for making the film. maybe had I read the book I would not have found it so powerful and impactful, however, this is the first I had ever hear of this individual.
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on September 26, 2012
I first watched The Diving Bell and the Butterfly at a small release theater after it was recommended by a coworker. His comment was simply that 'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly' was a good take on severe disability, that the movie wasn't about pity or sentimentalism. That proved true, afterall the majority of any pity a viewer will feel will be for the people who are given the task of helping a man who has gone from perfectly healthy to completely immobile save for his eyes. One can understand the main character's frustration with his condition, and feel for the people having to deal with that frustration. But there are two bigger things I took from the movie, one that the main character seems to revisit a great many regrets for the things he's done in his previous life; the other that the main character realises that he can at least do better with his present life. When the movie ended I had goosebumps and in general was left in a more positive frame of mind than one would expect in a movie regarding severe disability.

Some years later, I purchased the dvd, and rewatched the movie. The movie's appeal still is there, and this time around I noticed a few subtle events in the movie that I hadn't noticed the first time around. As noted in the product description, the DVD includes a 'making of' as well as a Charlie Rose interview with the movie's Director.

If you enjoy movies about human perserverance in general, this is one you should definately enjoy. The briefest synopsis I can give is this: A life changing event brings a man to reconsider what he's done with his life, after which, with the help of a great many people, he commits himself to having less regrets going forward.
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on April 4, 2013
My wife suffered a brain aneurysm that put he in a persistent vegetative state...... but I knew she was still there. She came out of a coma the day before they were to disconnect her, and for nine years we have struggled for her to come back. This movie helped me realize what she has lived and I lend it to anyone who benefits from what it can teach.The more people who can be made to understand the prison people like Jean and my wife have lived, the more hope there is for all who believe life is precious.
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on October 22, 2016
Great movie that probes the depths of what it is to be human and of what humans are capable with the utmost hardship, and it turns out quite a lot. . Does not hurt that it also has part of the soundtrack written by that depth of humanity songwriter and performer Tom Waits. If interested it also tracks quite well with the very well written book by the same name on which it was based, which was amazingly, given the author's condition, written by the movie's main character. Bring a handkerchief for the scenes with the children.
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on September 24, 2017
Everything about this movie draws you into a remarkable story of the triumph of the human spirit. Lovely and heart-wrenching, poetic film making.
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on June 7, 2013
This movie made you come as close to feeling - through a film - what it feels like to be completely at another's mercy and to be trapped inside your broken body.
My son had cerebral palsy and never walked or talked. He couldn't scratch an itch, couldn't adjust his position in bed, couldn't eat, wipe a tear, reach for something he get picture. He died early this year.
Watching this movie was painful for me because of my experience and enforced how strong people are that face these situations. It's a new normal for Jean-Dom (based on a true story) and he masters it as well as anyone could.
The actors nailed their performances. We empathize with Jean-Dom's initial reactions and the love his family shows for him. We cringe at the girlfriend's absence and hope that we would never be that shallow. Is that fair? I don't know.
I highly recommend this film. Be prepared for serious emotions.
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on November 3, 2014
True classic that visually tickles the rods and cones through the eyes of a painter/director. Tells the tale of locked-in syndrome with compassion and realism. Jean-Dominique Bauby was the former Editor-in-Chief of Elle magazine in Paris when he was stricken with a brain stem stroke that left him quadriplegic and only able to move his left eye-lid. With that remaining behavior he and his speech-language pathologist, Sandrine, find a way to write his memoir with just eye blinks. The result is remarkable, stunning, and inspirational. I use the book and film in my advanced classes in cognitive neuroscience. The book alters the life of some readers. The film loses nothing and translates it to an optic and emotional spectacular experience
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