Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +4

Content: +1

Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Max Von Sydow. Drama. Written by RONALD HARWOOD. Directed by JULIAN SCHNABEL

FILM SYNOPSIS: Based on a true story of Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric), a successful and charismatic editor-in-chief of French Elle, whose sudden stroke leaves him in a life-altered state. Unable to move, he is trapped in his mind, where he begins to find solace reexamining his rich memories. After getting over self-pity, he uses his newfound imagination to escape his physical boundaries and, with the assistance of a patient aide, even to write a book.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Its a masterpiece! But as with all masterpieces, it will not be appreciated by all audiences. Its deliberately paced (translation its often slow), its subtitled, and the subject has to do with a man paralyzed from head down due to a stroke not exactly Friday night escapist fare. Another drawback for us Christians is the fact that the lead is anti-religion and the content is peppered with objectionable language and casual sex (though nothing is included in order to be titillating, but merely to reveal his outlook and lifestyle).

The lead character is not just a man with little use for religion; hes downright hostile to the concepts of Christianity and the Hereafter. Hes uncomfortable with being in the presence of spiritual images and reflections, as if a hidden awareness of his guilts are being smothered by ego and self-centeredness. This becomes disturbing, for his rejection of spiritual matters leaves him with little more than his limited time left in a world where he is scrubbed and tended to by others.

Despite these PG-13 deterrents, the film remains, as I said, a masterpiece. Julian Schnabel (Rockets Redglare, The Million Dollar Hotel) directs like a baroque painter using thoughts that reflect underlining tension and images that demand attention with their violent movement and strong emotion. Its almost a classical movie. But what makes the film so powerful, so worthwhile, is the lesson that lingers once we leave the theater. We are reminded that our health and place in this life can change instantly. We are reminded to live every moment, enjoy every day as a gift, and to realize that our limitations and struggles often pale in comparison to the true afflictions of others. By films end, this viewer thanked God for His blessings and prayed for a merciful end when that time comes.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: Four or five obscenities (the s-word) and a couple of minor expletives.

Profanity: I caught one misuse of Christs name.

Violence: : A medical procedure is depicted as we see the mans eye being sewn shut in order to protect it.

Sex: A couple of sexual situations, brief and not overly graphic.

Nudity: Topless female nudity in a couple of scenes.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None


Other: None

Running Time: 114 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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