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Le scaphandre et le papillon
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly More at IMDbPro »Le scaphandre et le papillon (original title)

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the questions you ask yourself while watching

Author: yaefendi from Ankara, Turkey
17 July 2011

My friendship with French movies and literature has a long history. It is so much that i tried to learn French in a period of my life. I also find them very strong for this case.

This movie is build up only one teller who is the main character and seems to be very successful. And deserving to be watched. Not only for how it tells but what it tells.

You think the chances you miss for nothing or you think what will you do if you were in the main character? These are difficult questions, I think. But you dare to think while you are watching.

I recommend "Jeux d'Enfants, Wasabi, Leon" for watching French movies also.

Thank you.

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Definitely worth seeing, best adaptation I've seen in a long time.

Author: from Lévis, Québec Canada
29 June 2011

We all have our favorite books that we would love to see transferred to the big screen. Problem is that when they are, we are often disappointed by the adaptation. Usually, those books are so clear in our minds, with a linear development until the conclusion, that we feel betrayed by the adaptation. Not so here.

Firstly, when I read that The Diving Bell and the Butterfly would be adapted, I was very skeptical as this book is probably the polar opposite of the typical blockbuster, and is, in my opinion, one of the most difficult books to adapt on screen. I suggest that you read it to understand my point. It's only 140 pages or so, therefore, don't miss out on it.

Schnabel was able to transform a series of somewhat independent chapters and ideas in a movie that is both faithful to the text, and yet very different at the same time, and that is no small feat. All the actors do an outstanding job, and even though the protagonist, Jean-Dominique Bauby, is clearly not a saint, we empathize with him and his loved ones.

Definitely worth it.

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Touching and Uplifting movie about unbreakable human spirit

Author: princebansal1982 from India
30 May 2011

This is one of the most personal movies for me. My father had a stroke once and suffered from partial paralysis, but thankfully for a short period of time. I still remember his frustration and helplessness. This movie really helped me in understanding what he must have gone through.

I have never seen in any other movie, the feeling of helplessness that I saw in this movie, thanks mostly to the innovative way in which camera was used. While the movie itself is amazing, more amazing is the fact that it is based on a true story. It is a testament to the unbreakable human spirit. The willpower and determination shown by lead actor in the movie just makes every thing else minuscule.

If you read the summary of the movie, it appears to be a really boring movie. But this movie is uplifting and humorous, dark and heartbreaking and very very real. An unforgettable experience. I watched this movie nearly two years back, but I am still getting goosebumps as some of its scenes come to my mind very vividly while writing this review.

I remember after watching the movie, the first thing I did was to check for the awards. I was surprised to see that lead actor wasn't even nominated. And then it came to my mind that he was paralyzed, so there was no acting involved. But actually there was, voice plays a big part in acting and here it was perfect.

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A Foreign Masterpiece

Author: RealtorMatthew from Phoenix, Arizona
8 May 2011

Foreign films are some of the most well-made movies I've ever seen. This one certainly doesn't disappoint. It's a French movie with a very strong cast of characters, especially the main character. In fact my wife and I saw it several years ago and she had forgot quite a bit about it so we checked it out again.

The main character Jean-Do (Mathieu Amalric) wakes up in a hospital. Something horrible has happened to him. Very impressive that the first several scenes are shot through his eyes, literally, as we watch the people that come to his care and tests that he is undergoing.

We don't know exactly what has happened to him, but whatever it is has rendered him speechless and immobile, and the movie is narrated by his thoughts. We're in his mind the entire movie as we hear his inner-dialogue and reactions to events that occur around him.

This perspective gives us a very unique look at the movie, because in essence we become the main character, so we pay attention a lot more than if the camera were filming around us. The most unique element of the movie is watching the other characters in front of Jean-Do in an attempt to communicate with him.

The rehab of Jean-Do is particularly interesting to watch, since he cannot speak, he can only communicate with the blinking of one eye as someone else scrolls through letters, thus creating an entire word. Although we keep hearing "A,B,C,D,E",etc over and over again I didn't find it annoying in the slightest, as I seemed to hang on each letter.

We come to find out what Jean-Do is like before the accident - vain, in a high profile kind of career, and living in the now. Images and memories of his former lifestyle are flashed on the screen in beautiful fashion and not only do we see his reality but we see his use of imagination as well.

Early in the film, he realizes that while his body is paralyzed, his imagination and memories are still at his disposal. Thus, his imagination is what he uses as a mental escape from his present situation. I cannot speak highly enough of the cinematography in this movie, A+ for sure. Combine that with the emotionally-moving music and you have got a nice combination for success. This also goes for the dreams he has, which are quite vivid and beautiful as well.

The film itself is thoughtful, contemplative, and attention-grabbing in practically every scene.

The relationship with his father was very believable, and I couldn't help but to empathize with both of them. The tale told is one of endearing love, not only for his father, but also his wife and kids.

Listening to Jean-Do describe his feelings is depth was so wonderfully arranged - his points were spot on and at times I wish I could describe what I was feeling to that specificity. We hear him describe what he loses and what he gains as a result of his predicament.

The movie goes back and forth between reality and the way he wished things were. I watched with hope that things would get better for him.

The emotion he conveys through just one eye is utterly incredible (particularly the scene where he is on the phone with his wife).

The theme of the movie is: Everyone surrounds you when things are good, but who's there for you when the chips are down? We find out who really cares for John-Do in the end.

I got an uneasy feeling towards the very end of the movie as we come to find out exactly what happened to Jean-Do.

The only negatives were that the movie seemed longer than what is was (112 minutes) and a few scenes I felt were unnecessary to the development of the plot.

Review of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - 8/10 stars

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"Imagination and memories"...the tools of daily survival

Author: moonspinner55 from las vegas, nv
22 February 2011

Biographical dramatization of Jean-Dominique Bauby, the 42-year-old French editor of Elle magazine, who suffered a frightening stroke in 1995 which put him into a coma for three weeks; upon awakening in the hospital, he discovered to his shock and amazement that his brain was fully-functioning while his body was paralyzed nearly from head to toe, with only his eyes as his tools of communication (which quickly became one eye, his left, after the right one was sewn shut for fear of infection). Dictating (via blinking) his memoir with aid from extremely patient therapists, Bauby was able to publish a book, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly", before contracting pneumonia. This cinematically exciting and challenging film won't be to every taste, but remains an extremely well-done portrait of the human condition: hapless in movement, but alive in imagination. As Bauby, Mathieu Amalric mutters to himself (and us) in sardonic, often bitter amusement as to his fate, while director Julian Schnabel puts the audience in the anguishing position of the patient for long stretches. It was a gamble which pays off artistically and emotionally; once the viewer becomes attuned to the visual angle Schnabel has taken, the film becomes an absorbing and heart-rending journey. *** from ****

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The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Author: Jackson Booth-Millard from United Kingdom
11 December 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This at the time I saw it was quite a new entry in the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book, and the concept sounded like a really beautiful foreign film, I had a feeling I was going to be right. Based on the true story, set in 1995, forty-three year old Jean-Dominique Bauby (Quantum of Solace's Mathieu Amalric), editor of Elle France, suffered a severe that paralysed his entire body, and with his vision not perfect only his left eye remained. With is eye being the only part of his body that he can still move, speech therapist Henriette Roi (Marie-Josée Croze) has developed a way for him to communicate. Using a chart of the most commonly used letters in the alphabet, and using one blink for "yes" and two blinks for "no", she can help Jean-Do spell out the words he wants to say. He starts off with obvious comments like he wants to die, but he does eventually come through and Henriette helps him write what will become his memoirs. As time goes by, those who love and were friends with him come to see him and of course Henriette communicates what he wants to say to them, including father Papinou (Max Von Sydow) all are reduced to tears. As well as seeing this present, we see flashbacks of Jean-Do before the stroke, including having an affair, hanging out with his father in confinement, and of course the day he is driving and he has life changing stroke. In the end, Jean-Do completes his memoirs and hears the response by the critics, but he died of pneumonia ten days after it was published. Also starring Jean-Pierre Cassel as Father Lucien, Anne Consigny as Claude, Patrick Chesnais as Dr. Lepage, Niels Arestrup as Roussin and Marina Hands as Joséphine. Amalric is extraordinary as the man suffering "locked-in" syndrome, Croze is also brilliant as the speech therapist helping him to speak out, I really liked the first twenty minutes from the point of view of the protagonist, and his narration from inside and flashbacks stops it from becoming monotonous, a beautifully made and very dignified biographical drama. It was nominated the Oscars for Best Cinematography, Best Direction for Julian Schnabel, Best Editing and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published, it won the BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay, and it was nominated for Best Film Not in the English Language, it won the Golden Globes for Best Director and Best Foreign Language Film, and it was nominated for Best Screenplay. Very good!

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Memoirs of a great picture

Author: tjsdshpnd from India
8 June 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What would you do if your entire body has been paralyzed except your brain and one eye? You are not able to speak, walk, swallow, bath, hell even shoo away a fly sitting on your nose. Looks like a very pitiful and sad condition and you may think a movie which would depict this story would be even more sadder and full of pity for the patient. But 'Le Scaphandre Et Le Papillion' is a different movie. It depicts the true story of one such man who was a famous French magazine editor but gets paralyzed due to a heavy stroke. This movie looks at the patient's condition in a light manner which sometimes is even hilarious. The first part of the movie, the viewer sees through the eyes of the patient. We do not get to see the face of the patient for the first 30 minutes or so which indirectly creates a suspense. We get to see the world through his one eye and the thoughts in his mind. Humor, pity, sadness and other emotions are created by the visitors who come to visit him and the reciprocation of his inner thoughts towards them. The story then moves on to become inspiring when he decides to publish his book by dictating his thoughts by blinking his one eye and by a special communication method for such patients.

A special mention should be given to the camera-work in this picture. It is revolutionary to say the least especially the first 30 minutes or so. Even the various fantasies of the protagonist are photographed beautifully. Mathieu Amalric plays the paralytic, helpless but still a bit egoistic patient convincingly. His 'normal' scenes are also good. But the credit goes to all the female cast in this movie. They are the soul of this picture right from his wife to his therapists to the girl he dictates his memoirs. A must watch for a great experience.

Rating : 9/10

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A view from an Eye

Author: suriya narayanan from India
6 June 2010

Simply Superb!!!!!!!!! One of the greatest movies ever. I have no words. go for it. The director have nothing to hold tight. He simply waved that cloth, the movie, the song, the poetry to the wind blowing. Everything in this movie is beautiful. The camera's movement is controlled due to the actors character. Splendid shots and brilliant quotes through out the movie.Strictly for movie Lovers. A patient and silent storm that will blow on you when u get it finished. One of the brilliant cinema ever made. Some of the movies that has the same plot haven't touched the glory of this movie. Its like watching a red cloth, a beautiful cloth singing and dancing to the music of the wind.

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Author: kenjha
9 April 2010

Based on an autobiography, this is a fascinating story of the editor of Elle magazine, as he tries to find a purpose in life after becoming completely paralyzed except for the use of one eye. The acting is uniformly excellent: Almalric as Bauby, the stricken editor, Seigner, Croze, and Consigny as the women nursing him, and von Sydow as his father. It is initially filmed from the perspective of Almalric, with his blurry vision. This distorted perspective is rather annoying as it goes on a bit too long, but it serves its purpose, effectively conveying the life change that the character is undergoing. Ultimately, the film proves to be moving and rewarding.

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Give it a try - you'll be pleased that you did

Author: richard-810 from United Kingdom
15 January 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Confession: I didn't much fancy this film. I'd read the rave reviews and was pretty sure that it would be a worthy and moving piece of work but being completely honest, did I really want to spend an evening watching a movie about some poor fellow who was paralysed and unable to walk, talk or move anything other than an eyelid? It may be a true (ish) story but it doesn't exactly sound like two hours of entertainment, does it? I finally gave it a try - nothing much better to do - and I was really pleased that I did. It is obviously a moving and emotional story but more than that, it is funny, entertaining, sometimes beautiful to watch and has that charm of the best French cinema. Like many fine films from around the world, it features fairly ordinary people in situations which the likes of you and I can identify with - real people in a beautiful but sometimes cruel world. OK, our man did have a pretty good job and a glamorous lifestyle and did have the money to do things that a poor/working class person wouldn't. Let's face it however, this may contribute to a better looking and more interesting film but wouldn't make a whole lot of difference to the quality of your life following such a horrible trauma. Great cinema but a really rewarding and memorable evening. Don't be like me and form a prejudice view of what to expect before you've seen it.

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