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
In the movie, Bauby is visited by a friend named Roussin (Jean-Paul K in the book), about whom Bauby feels guilty as his friend was captured and held hostage in Beirut, Lebanon after Bauby gives Roussin his airline seat. In reality, although Jean-Paul K was indeed held hostage in Beirut, it was not due to having been given Bauby's seat. In the book, Bauby expresses guilt at never having contacted his friend upon his release, and there is no mention that the two met up again after Bauby's stroke. See more »
At about 15 minutes left in the film, the right side of Bauby's lip is shown to be drooping, whereas throughout the film it was the left side that drooped. See more »
Hold fast to the human inside of you, and you'll survive.
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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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