The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007, Julian Schnabel)

I’ve gone back and forth a few times since seeing this.

FOR: the subjective camerawork from a bleary-eyed stroke victim’s point of view for the first 20 minutes is beautiful and avant-garde. The flights of fantasy mix and clash with harsh realities, like Bauby’s ex-wife and current girlfriend fighting over him via conference call, and there’s enough humor and absurdity to keep the whole thing light, even with the clouds of death and disability and shattered families hanging above.

AGAINST: it’s Schnabel’s third bio-pic in a row, and the story of a rich guy in hospital looking back on his life’s mistakes and dictating an autobiography by blinking his one good eye makes for the least essential story of the three. Bauby’s post-stroke struggle is interesting, but his life and character are not.

I feel like I should warn people against watching it, and at the same time, I want to run out and watch it again.

Max Von Sydow played Bauby’s father, and Ghost Dog’s ice cream man played his friend. His hot wife has been in a few Polanski movies (oh, she’s married to Polanski) and his even hotter nurse was in Ararat (the painting-slashing girlfriend, I think). Bauby himself starred in Assayas’s “Late August, Early September” and was billed just below Michael Lonsdale in “Munich”.

A sentence fragment from an IMDB review could be an alternate title: “The Patience of Others”.

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