Forty-three year old Elle magazine editor Jean-Dominique Bauby - Jean-Do to his friends - awakens not knowing where he is. He is in a Berck-sur-Mer hospital, where he has been for the past several weeks in a coma after suffering a massive stroke. Although his cognitive facilities are in tact, he quickly learns that he has what is called locked-in syndrome which has resulted in him being almost completely paralyzed, including not being able to speak. One of his few functioning muscles is his left eye. His physical situation and hospitalization uncomfortably bring together the many people in his life, including: Céline Desmoulins, his ex-lover and mother of his children; Inès, his current lover; and his aged father who he calls Papinou. Among his compassionate recuperative team are his physical therapist Marie, and his speech therapist Henriette. Henriette eventually teaches him to communicate using a system where he spells out words: she reads out the letters of the alphabet in ... Written by
To familiarize himself with Bauby's sheltered existence, director Julian Schnabel made the movie in the same hospital where Bauby was treated, meeting many of the orderlies who had treated him. He also shot scenes on the same balcony where Bauby relaxed, and on the same nearby beach his family took him to. See more »
Jean-Dominique shaves his father's mustache, removing the shaving cream. In the next shot, his mustache is covered with shaving cream again. In the following shot, the shaving cream is gone again. See more »
The best film so far - that I've seen - in 2008. A totally artistic endeavour that succeeds on every level. Expecting a somewhat depressing movie, I found it to be the exact opposite. Uplifting, joyful, and inspirational while showing a man (played by Mathieu Amalric) completely paralyzed, apart from the ability to blink his left eye.
There is a seamless blend of cinematography with the music to enhance the inner life of the main character, the viewer is at one with his inner frustration, his soaring imagination, his follies, faults and lusts. At times it is humorous, at others there are indelible vignettes
one of the long term partner (beautfully played by EmmanuelleSeigner)
assisting his lover to communicate with him by telephone. Another is the incredible Max Von Sydow in a riveting performance as the elderly heart-broken father.
The film is based on a true story and it must have been an enormous challenge to bring this story to the screen. Julian Schnabel directed the amazing cast and brought an artistry to the project that is extremely rare in film making. To capture the world as seen through the eye of a paralyzed man and make it so fascinating took enormous skill.
I was captivated and enchanted and would definitely see it again. 9 out of 10. Not to be missed.
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