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.