rating = 9
I am so moved by this film I am unable to articulate the emotions and feelings that it conjured. Based on Jean-Dominique Bauby’s phenomenal memoir, the cinematography, direction, narration and acting allows the viewer to live through the pain, anguish and disbelief that Jean-Do (as he was affectionately called) experiences as he comes to term with a life-altering disability brought on by a massive stroke. The once-dynamic Editor-in-Chief of French Elle magazine was diagnosed with Locked-in syndrome, unwilling to let this horrible affliction silence him, he ‘wrote’ his memoir by blinking his left eye. No easy feat when you realize it took about 200,000 blinks to complete the book.
Unfortunately Jean-Do passed away of pneumonia 10 days after the release of his memoir. However, both his book and his movie is a testament to this extraordinary man. His book was fast to make it onto the bestsellers list, and the movie which was released 10 years later has received critical acclaim and won numerous awards.
This movie is definitely on my APPROVED list!
An Excerpt from the book “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – A Memoir of Life in Death” by Jean-Dominique Bauby
Through the frayed curtain at my window, a wan glow announces the break of day. My heels hurt, my head weighs a ton, and something like a giant invisible cocoon holds my whole body prisoner. My room emerges slowly from the gloom. I linger over every item: photos of loved ones, my children’s drawings, posters, the little tin cyclist sent by a friend the day before the Paris-Roubaix bike race, and the IV pole hanging over the bed where I have been confined these past six months, like a hermit crab dug into his rock.