The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

In what was, in my opinion, one of the most beautifully filmed and cleverly directed movies of 2007, Julian Schnabel adapts Jean-Dominique Bauby’s autobiography The Diving Bell and The Butterfly with startling emotional force.

The camera shots are at first simply disorienting and discomforting, representing Bauby’s waking from a coma. This transitions to an even more unnerving choice of camera work; the majority of the film proceeds as a series of static camera placements moving slowly about each set like the single functioning eye of this paralyzed man, occasionally “blinking” for Bauby’s communication. I’ve never felt so trapped in place from watching a movie, and I’ve never experienced film direction so effective at generating audience empathy.

It certainly helped that the acting was excellent all around, the screenplay was well done, and the soundtrack was full of fine choices. This is highly recommended to anyone who appreciates the artistic side of film making, and doesn’t mind reading subtitles.

Five stars out of five, and I may have to add this to my collection.

3 thoughts on “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

  1. I loved “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”, but the movie I’d rather see is “My Stroke of Insight”, which is the amazing bestselling book by Dr Jill Bolte Taylor. It is an incredible story and there’s a happy ending. She was a 37 year old Harvard brain scientist who had a stroke in the left half of her brain. The story is about how she fully recovered, what she learned and experienced, and it teaches a lot about how to live a better life. Her TEDTalk at TED dot com is fantastic too. It’s been spread online millions of times and you’ll see why!

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