The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Title: Le Scaphandre et le papillon
Year: 2007
Director: Julian Schnabel
Writer: Ronald Harwood, based on the book by Jean-Dominique Bauby
Starring: Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Josée Croze, Max von Sydow
Music: Paul Cantelon (plus a lot of non-original music)
Distinctions: Oscar nominations for Best Directing, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Editing; currently #206 on IMDb’s Top 250
Synopsis: a man is paralyzed and dictates his memoir by blinking
How I saw it: on video (rented from Netflix), May 2008
Subjective Rating: 7/10 (Good).
Objective Rating: 9/10 (1 point off for concept) c. 3.3/4 (Very good).

Not my kind of movie (the phrase “based on a true story” always sounds to me like “bad movie – mess you up”), but it’s extremely well done. Not much happens, but somehow it manages to be a good story. The dialog is great; I suppose since it’s based on a book written by a guy dictating with his eyelids, it’s not too much of a surprise that there aren’t any wasted words. The soundtrack happens to use a number of my favoritest songs (including a Bach piano concerto and Tom Waits’ “Green Grass”).


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