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Javier Bardem may just be one of the finest actors of his generation,
and his role as a paraplegic fighting for the right to die added
another impressive notch to his already eclectic body of work.
El Mar Adentro has its share of beautiful moments, and it treated its core issue with sensitivity and intelligence (for the most part). The philosophical aspect of it was insightful, but perhaps underutilized.
The direction, acting, and production values were all impressive. I was prepared to give this 8 or 9 stars, along with the dubious ranking of perhaps one of the finest Spanish dramas ever filmed.
Unfortunately, the movie ends up shooting itself in the foot by proving to be a little over- directed. What killed it for me was the abundance of irritating montages that killed the flow, and made it seem like the director just wanted to quicken the pace in an easy fashion. Whenever the passage of time was shown with annoying fade in/outs and the maudlin music cut in heavy handedly, it caused me to zone out. It was like watching a hallmark channel version of a paralyzed Rocky Balboa.
Other criticisms were the focus of the film. There was the protagonist of Ramon, there was the love triangle between Rosa, Julia, and he. There was the legal angle, Ramon's family, and the moral outrage expressed by characters like the priest. It felt meandering, and what felt like a build up to the court room scene was over in 3 minutes. There was too much attention paid to other characters who, frankly, didn't interest me as much as Ramon. I wish I could have gotten to know him a little better.
And did I mention the music was intrusive?
But as much as there were parts I resented, there was a lot to admire. One of the most gorgeous scenes was the depiction of Ramon's accident. Amenebar showed that their can be grace in even the most horrid and fateful of moments. Other highlights were Ramon's ability to escape his prison and visit the sea inside, where he visits his fantasies of the women he leaves behind. I only wish the man's imagination had been explored a lot more.
Still, a worthwhile watch. 7/10.
after its end, only poetry flavor is powerful. poetry of life. cruel, strange, fragile. from a film about the death not as menace but right.and this poetry has deep roots. a real case. a wonderful performance. beautiful images. and sound of words. so, more than adaptation of a story it is a parable as testimony about fundamental things. about sufferance and love, expectation and fight, hope as sword and pure joy not as show but as essence of days. must see it not only as one brilliant works of Bardem. but as mirror of soul. your soul. because its bitter beauty is encouraging. and safe. key for hidden emotions. cure against ambiguous fears.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The use of symbolism in the film Mar Adentro adds a deeper meaning to
life and inadvertently causes the viewer to reflect upon their own
meaning of life. Ramón reveals in the beginning of the film that he
wants to die because it is an impossible journey for him to do the
simplest things in life, such as touch, answer the phone, and in his
case love. The effortless things that are often taken for granted are
portrayed in the film when Ramón is on his way to the courthouse. It
showed people riding bikes, animals having sex, and multiple windmills
blades circulating around, which could easily symbolize that time and
life keep passing and moving forward, while he is forced to stay
immobile, causing him to want to go against nature and end his life.
The deepest symbolic portrayal of life and death was in the end when
Rosa and Ramón were admiring the view of the sea; the same sea that
gave him his life and that gave him the opportunity to travel the
world, but in the same token ideologically took his life away and
paralyzed him. Furthermore, in this same scene Rosa's son was sleeping
on Ramón and while the child was lying on his stomach it overemphasized
his breathing. I interpreted this to symbolize the beginning of life
and the ending of life because he was so close to his "dignified
death." The portrayal of the youth and innocence of the child sleeping
on Ramón while he was awaiting his suicide illustrated the complete
life circle and how soon life can end.
Not only was the use of symbolism effective, but the different camera shots captured the viewers attention and allowed a deeper connection with the character. For example, the use of extreme close up shots when Ramón was reflecting on his past allows the viewer to feel the depth of his sadness and even agree with his wishes to die.
I hated No Country for Old Men. So much, I didn't realize who Javier
Bardem was until I saw The Sea Within. I've also been on the edge of
suicide, when I was in my 20's.
I saw this movie on TV yesterday, with English subtitles which are not perfectly readable because of white background interference, and I'm still living with it. It was on IFC.
The entire cast is excellent. The story is absolutely compelling. If you didn't fall in love with Million Dollar Baby, or even if you did, see this movie about euthanasia in present-day Spain. Just the cultural contrasts between Spain and America's "treatment" of people who want to die are astonishingly disturbing and true.
But you have a far stronger mind than I, if you think much about Doctor Kervorkian and America's idiocy in regard to euthanasia during this movie. Like the story, the visuals are absolutely compelling. As is the dialogue. As are the scene cuts from the political sphere to the bedside in the home of the quadriplegic who simply wishes to die but can't find anyone who will simply assist him in doing it. Who's been bedridden in the house of his deeply stupid older brother, apparently for 28 YEARS, in Catholic Spain, a country already light years beyond Whatever-America's-religion-is in regard to doctor-assisted-suicides.
These times in which we live! I suggest here and now that when America starts providing euthanasia as a health benefit, this movie be among the DVD's provided for viewing by "patients."
This is not a movie about euthanasia, I mean in the sense of if it's legitimate or not as a general rule. It's only the dramatic story of a man who becomes quadriplegic after and accident, being able only to move his head, insensitive along his whole body but entirely conscious and very intelligent. He feels he has no life quality that allows him to live with dignity and wants to die. Simply he is not able to put an end to his life by himself alone and needs to be helped and that would create judicial problems to other people. So the movie narrates his battle with judicial authorities to get the necessary authorization to be "killed" which is denied to him. But the movie is not only that. It's full of extremely moving scenes and the dialogues and silences are full of meaning. Through them we feel not only this man's personal drama but also of those who surround him and take care of him and try to help him. Javier Bardem is an excellent actor and does the role of the man who wants to die in a splendid way. But all the other characters are extremely well served by their performers. It's a movie about euthanasia yes but faced as a free individual choice which means that many quadriplegic people may chose to live like that which is also a legitimate choice. It's indeed a masterpiece that touches our hearts to the bottom. I only see a small flaw. In my opinion the introduction of the role of the female lawyer suffering on an incurable degenerative disease is unnecessary in the economy of the story but it doesn't spoil it anyway.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The movie is philosophical, and it deals with this philosophical
question in a way that strikes a delicate balance without being too
biased or one-sided. "Too" is added because subtly, it can be seen that
the author is probably pro-"right to die", in his way of contrasting
the right of to choose to die and the right of to choose to live
despite her chronic illness.
The director has done a great job to express Ramon's inhibitions which make his life lifeless - the fantasy scenes in which he flew to the sea and in which he kissed Julia are nothing but romantic, lyrical and surreal. Emotions is another weapon the director employs to make this movie unique and touching. I am deeply impressed by the way the emotions and relationships between and his family members (espcially between Ramon and his nephew) were laid out - very naked, genuine, very moving.
The ending is open to all - to let everyone think about all these moral questions - What should society and the law do to this group of helpless people? Can you love somebody and kill him at the same time? Should the right to die be protected as the right to live? Is life any life at all without freedom? And is life filled with love from your family and acquaintances but with no love from yourself worth living? A very thought-provoking film cautiously and delicately crafted out by superb acting, wonderful directing and enlightening scripts, and without too much individualism and bias. It is you the audience who decide ultimately what is right, what is wrong. A worthy Oscars winner. A beautiful must-see.
The performance of Javier Bardem in the central role of the
quadriplegic, Ramon Sampedro is nothing short of amazing. I cannot
imagine what the intense preparation was like.
Based on a true story, the film addresses the dilemma of euthanasia, particularly when the loved ones surrounding him do not wish it and value the life of the person. Very, very difficult.
The direction and cinematography and soundtrack work together beautifully to evoke the limited life of Ramon, a life that can only be lived in his imagination which soars both in his writing and in his use of language. Women fall in love with him. But he is emphatic that true love will aid and abet him in accomplishing what he cannot do on his own - terminate his life.
How this all transpires is the core of the movie. Not surprisingly, it won the Best Foreign Film award at the Oscars in 2005 and many other prestigious awards as well.
Engrossing. 8 out of 10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I am sure that when people see that this film is the story of a man's twenty-eight year fight for the right to end his life, in the manner in which he saw fit, people might think it would be a depressing experience. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is not the story of a man's death. It is the story of a man's life, and the obstacles he confronted. Clearly, his was not the life he chose, rather it was the life he endured. Yet, this man was loved, and he loved, if not his life, the people in his life. The story was beautifully told. The photography was so lovely and inviting that I found myself immersed in the images. The portrayals were extraordinary. Every player in the film pulled me to their character to a degree that I could feel for all of them. I can only think of one criticism. The film was long. Yet, there were so many more things I wanted to know about the main character, his family and his friends. I strongly recommend this film.
Although I've wanted to see this film for some time now, I was also in
a way dreading it. I always feel that way with "heavy" films that deal
with subject matters that in a way make me think too much about my own
mortality and existence. It's so much easier sometimes to live through
life without having to think too much. Even about twenty minutes into
it, I just wanted to turn it off and really just stop there forever.
Ramon Sampedro, a quadriplegic, fights for his right to die with
Ramon is a man surrounded by life. Honestly, I don't think I'll ever truly comprehend his wish to die... it never really bothered me that he wanted it, but I personally cannot fathom the idea under logical terms. What life is for him is different from me, and different from my neighbor or the President. It's the one thing in the world that is so real, but so abstract and inconceivable all at once. Still, I can't think of many other characters on the screen that I've held so much respect for as him. It's not even a conflict, I can't understand, but I understand his understanding so to speak. This film is so much about life, the imagery here is beautiful. Although based on a true story, the idea of the sea and how it's played up in imagery and dialogue here is astounding. I can't find the specific quote, but to paraphrase "The sea gave me life, and the sea took my life". It sums it all up, and beyond the context of this film the sea has always been this bringer and taker of life in mythology and literature. Nearly every creation myth I have heard begins in the sea, and quite a few apocalyptic ones say of the sea taken back the land. I also thought there was a brilliance in the men who surrounded Ramon, their presence seems to indicate in itself the stages of life. I'm sure you know the riddle, "What has four legs in the morning, two at noon and three in the evening?", it's of course man. Although not a baby, we have three walks of life in Ramon's nephew, brother and father. A young man, a middle aged one and the elderly father. This film that's about "death" is more about life as I see it.
Although I wouldn't say this is a perfect film it has a lot going for it. The acting, I think a lot of it here is good, but Javier Bardem as Ramon is just wow. It's all in the face, and you honestly just fall in love with him. He's a man who inspires life, although he wants to shed his own. The cinematography and editing is excellent, one scene that really hit me hard was when Ramon is telling of the day of the accident. We go in a dream-like flashback that drifts from first to third person perspective. We are him as he jumps and then, we're out of the body as we see him hit the bottom, break his neck and then float in the water. This is mixed together with a narration, and he says that his life flashed before his eyes. The interviewer is looking through some old photos as she asked what did he see, he never answers. We just see these snapshots of his life, cut in with him drowning. It almost reduced me to tears, one of the most powerful scenes I've seen in recent years.
One of the most powerful films I've seen in a long time, and honestly probably one of the best of this new century I've seen so far. I'm extremely happy I decided in the end to watch this one, it was well worth my time and effort.
This film is based on a true story about Ramon Sampedro, a quadriplegic
Spaniard who, in his early 20s, suffered a tragic diving accident
beginning a 28-year odyssey to find and then control his destiny. Ramon
is played by Javier Bardem who creates more life for his character than
most with working appendages. Chilean, Alejandro Amenábar, who is
probably best known in the U.S. for The Others, directs the film.
Rarely is a film made where every actor and scene are so brilliantly
united that one can't help find themselves near the hearts of everyone
who comes in contact with Ramon. The Sea Inside is so richly written
that every single line of dialogue warms your senses. Within the first
few minutes of viewing this film, you will be transformed from your
seat and find yourself engaged in Ramon's life and desires.
For anyone who feels the best films are made inside U.S. borders, you may be closing your eyes to an entire world of wonderful cinema! Go see The Sea Inside and within minutes you will appreciate what the world has to offer.
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