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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Le Scaphandre et le papillon can be found here.
It is based on Le Scaphandre et le Papillon [English: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly], an autobiography written by French journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby.
Those who have both read the book and seen the film say that the film follows the story very closely with only a few minor changes, but most seem to prefer the movie over the book, even though the book is a short and quick read. The general consensus is that you should see the movie AND read the book, and it doesn't matter in what order.
Bauby, portrayed in the movie by Mathieu Amalric, was diagnosed with "Locked-in Syndrome," which is usually caused by basilar artery thrombosis, causing a stroke in the brain stem in the area called the pons. The person usually cannot move any limb, cannot speak, cannot move the eyes horizontally but can move them vertically, can blink to communicate. Usually there is minimal or no improvement, and they die of pneumonia or some other septic event.
It was non-functioning, thus he couldn't blink. When you can't blink, your cornea dries out.
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