November 19, 2009

9. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly -- Top Movies of the Decade



The story of a devastating handicap -- a paralyzing stroke that traps French editor Jean-Dominique Bauby in his body where only a left eyelid can communicate -- becomes an essay about the strength of the human spirit. It is probably the only film ever to exist as virtually one long POV shot. Director Julian Schnabel, who specializes in films about artists who overcome huge obstacles, writer Ronald Harwood and cinematographer Janusz Kaminski solve the problem of a "locked-in" movie by showing everything the man sees from his bed and wheelchair, in sometimes blurred and shaking images, as well as his fantasies and memories. It actually improves on Bauby's own dictated memoir by making us literally see and feel the rage, lust, hunger and humor that illness cannot diminish. The performance by Mathieu Amalric is both poignant and breathtaking.

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This movie is fantastic regardless of your tastes. If you haven't seen it you should go see it.

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