[Screen It]

 

"THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY"
(2007) (Mathieu Amalric, Marie-Josée Croze) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor Minor Mild Mild None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor Minor None None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Extreme Moderate Moderate Moderate Minor


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A magazine editor-in-chief must contend with waking up paralyzed from a stroke with only the ability to communicate by blinking with one eye.
PLOT:
Jean-Dominique Bauby (MATHIEU AMALRIC) is the 43-year-old editor-in-chief of Elle Magazine who's awakened from a 3-week coma following a stroke. Completely paralyzed save for the ability to blink one eye, he's shocked that those around him, including neurologist Dr. Lepage (PATRICK CHESNAIS), can't hear what turns out to be just his inner voice.

Realizing that his mental functions still seem intact, Lepage assigns physical therapist Marie Lopez (OLATZ LÓPEZ GARMENDIA) and speech therapist Henriette Durand (MARIE-JOSÉE CROZE) to begin what will certainly be a long road to an uncertain recovery. Henriette devises a process for him to communicate -- reciting letters for him to chose, with the blink of his eye, in order to form words and then sentences.

It's understandably frustrating for him, not only because it's painstakingly slow, but also because it forever changes the way he'll communicate with the mother to his three children, Céline Desmoulins (EMMANUELLE SEIGNER), and means he probably won't ever be able to visit his elderly, apartment-bound father, Papinou (MAX VON SYDOW).

Realizing he still has his memories and imagination, Jean-Do, as he's known to friends and family, retreats into flights of fancy, both about himself and his past, but also those around him, including his lover, Inès (AGATHE DE LA FONTAINE), who can't get herself to see him in this new state.

Things look up when Jean-Do realizes he still has a contract with a publisher to write a book, and thus is teamed with Claude (ANNE CONSIGNY) who then transcribes his memoir, letter by letter. While dealing with his "locked in" state that he equates to being trapped in a diving bell underwater, Jean-Do reexamines and reassesses this new life that's been thrust upon him.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless the subject matter is of interest to them, it doesn't seem likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For nudity, sexual content and some language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • MATHIEU AMALRIC plays the editor-in-chief of a well-known magazine who awakens from a three-week, stroke-induced coma to discover that he's completely paralyzed save for the ability to blink one eye. Angry and depressed about this unexpected change, he first retreats into his memories and imagination, but then opts to write a novel, letter by letter, with the help of Claude. In bits about his past, we learn that he never married the mother of his three kids, had a lover, and cared for his father. He uses some profanity (heard as his inner voice).
  • EMMANUELLE SEIGNER plays the mother of his children who visits often to spend time with and care for him. She smokes several times.
  • MARIE-JOSÉE CROZE plays the speech therapist whose level of patience allows Jean-Do to communicate with the outside world.
  • ANNE CONSIGNY plays a publishing assistant who works with him in writing his memoir, transcribing his blink-chosen communication one letter at a time.
  • PATRICK CHESNAIS plays the neurologist who oversees Jean-Do's care and encourages his recovery.
  • OLATZ LÓPEZ GARMENDIA plays another therapist who focuses on trying to get Jean-Do to be able to swallow again.
  • MAX VON SYDOW plays Jean-Do's elderly, apartment-bound father who's distraught that his son won't ever be able to visit him again.
  • AGATHE DE LA FONTAINE plays Jean-Do's lover who can't get herself to visit him after his stroke, not wanting to see him that way.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this drama that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 2 "s" words (in English subtitles), while other expletives and some colorful phrases are also present. Some sexually related dialogue is present, while a couple is seen nude in bed together (side-by-side), but nothing sexual ultimately happens.

    Nudity (breasts and the side of a male bare butt then, other bare breasts, and brief views of a penis while a patient is bathed) is also present, while a paralyzed man's POV looks at women's clothed chests, bare legs and such.

    The overall subject matter as well as a few real and imagined scenes might be unsettling for some viewers, while some smoking and a bit of drinking are also present. Tense family material occurs, as does brief footage from a traditional bullfight.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's some of that from red flashing lights.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, various parts of the film are shown from Jean-Do's point of view. The initial ones are disorienting (blurry, out of focus, etc.) while later ones just show lots of camera movement.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • A former hostage says he knows a lot about wine, and that it's what kept him sane during his several-month ordeal.
  • Jean-Do imagines having a somewhat sensual dinner with Claude, featuring wine and other things.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Jean-Do imagines or remembers a bullfight from the past where several long barbed darts are already in the bull (with what looks like a little blood around the points of impact).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • In inner-voice narration, Jean-Do sounds regretful for treating Céline (the mother of his children, but not his wife) badly in the past, presumably by having a lover at the same time. Céline is later hurt (emotionally) when that lover calls and Jean-Do expresses his love for her in front of Céline (with her having to translate that message to the lover over the phone).
  • For those opposed to bullfighting, Jean-Do imagines or remembers a bullfight from the past where several long barbed darts are already in the bull (with what looks like a little blood around the points of impact).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • In the opening credits, we see various X-ray images of a human body, including the head (and thus skull), but none of that is done to be scary or unsettling (lighthearted music accompanies those visuals).
  • Various scenes feature Jean-Do imagining himself underwater in a diving bell helmet, with heavy breathing sounds and a panicked expression on his face.
  • We see Jean-Do's POV of a doctor or technician sewing up his bad eye (thus we see the fishhook type needle coming at the eye and going through the eyelid, etc.).
  • There's a flashback scene where Jean-Do takes his son, Theo, driving when the dad starts to complain about it being hot and then has to pull over as he starts slurring his words (he's having a stroke). His son then races off to a nearby home for help.
  • Spoiler Alert: A scene (consisting of jump cuts, fade outs & fade ins, and the sound of a slowing heartbeat) represents Jean-Do dying (of pneumonia). The scene is very peaceful, but might still be unsettling for some viewers.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Got any hair on your d*ck?" "Screw that," "God, I'm a jerk," "Cripples" (Jean-Do's word) and "You want me to smell like a hussy?"
  • JUMP SCENES
  • The sudden sound of curtains opening in an otherwise quiet scene might startle some viewers.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 2 "s" words, 1 slang term for male genitals ("d*ck"), 2 damns, 1 ass, 4 uses of "God" and 1 use each of "Christ," "For God's sakes" and "My God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Upon first meeting Henriette and Marie, Jean-Do stares at their clothed chests (we see his POV, but no cleavage or anything else is seen).
  • In a flashback, we see a photo shoot featuring a bare-breasted, female model (seen from a distance).
  • Henriette shows a little cleavage.
  • We see another male patient in just shorts for a bath or therapeutic "swim."
  • We see several brief underwater views of Jean-Do's penis as the rest of his body is bathed.
  • As Marie demonstrates how she wants Jean-Do to try to relearn how to swallow, he says (in his inner-voice) that it isn't fair (meaning his imagined sexual thoughts about watching her roll her tongue in and out of her mouth).
  • In his inner-voice, Jean-Do reminisces about "bedding the woman I love" and we then see a flashback view of the bare-breasted woman in bed (sporting a come hither look). We then see the two of them kissing on the beach, rolling around in the surf, with her in a standard bathing suit and him in swim trunks.
  • In a flashback, Papinou tells Jean-Do that he's had more affairs than most anyone, except for Casanova.
  • We see Jean-Do's POV of Céline's legs. We see a lot of leg, but nothing more.
  • Jean-Do imagines having a somewhat sensual dinner with Claude, featuring wine, oysters, and a brief kiss between them over the table.
  • In a flashback, Jean-Do jokingly tells his lover she always wanted a dirty weekend, with her playfully replying that he has a one-track mind. Later, and after she's bought a Madonna statue, he complains that he can't make love with her (the statue) watching. The shot is from behind the statue that blocks part of the view of the couple lying side-by-side in bed, but we still see a brief view of her bare breasts, and an even briefer one of the side of his bare butt as he gets up (nothing sexual occurs between them).
  • We see a flashback of Jean-Do's POV of a woman's legs (we see upper thigh, but nothing higher) as she drives in short shorts.
  • Jean-do imagines kissing Henrietta while she's appearing as a Napoleonic era woman (both are clothed).
  • There's a flashback scene where Jean-Do takes his son, Theo, driving and playfully asks him, "Got any hair on your d*ck?" with the boy replying not yet.
  • SMOKING
  • Céline smokes a few times, Claude smokes at least once as does Jean-Do in a flashback (while there's also a still photo of him smoking), while several minor characters each smoke once.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • In inner-voice narration, Jean-Do sounds regretful for treating Céline (the mother of his children, but not his wife) badly in the past, presumably by having a lover at the same time. Céline is later hurt (emotionally) when that lover calls and Jean-Do expresses his love for her in front of Céline (with her having to translate that message to the lover over the phone).
  • Jean-Do feels guilt for not being able to physically interact with his kids (after his stroke).
  • Papinou is teary and emotional while talking with Jean-Do on the phone (realizing he'll probably never see or talk -- in the traditional sense -- to him again).
  • There's a flashback scene where Jean-Do takes his son, Theo, driving when the dad starts to complain about it being hot and then has to pull over as he starts slurring his words (he's having a stroke). His son then races off to a nearby home for help.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The accuracy and/or any artistic license taken with this true story.
  • Strokes and their effects on the human body.
  • Being paralyzed.
  • Rehabilitation therapy and those who do such work (including their level of patience).
  • We hear that Céline is the mother of Jean-Do's children, but not his wife.
  • The comment that only a fool laughs when nothing is funny.
  • There's talk of a man who was held hostage in Beirut for four months after his plane was hijacked (and after Jean-Do allowed the man to take his seat on the plane, unaware of what was going to happen).
  • A former hostage's advice to Jean-Do about holding fast to the human side of you and that doing so will allow you to survive.
  • Bullfighting.
  • The comment that we're all children, and we all need approval.
  • How adversity can change people.
  • The notion of living life to its fullest since you never know what might happen to you.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Jean-Do imagines or remembers a bullfight from the past where several long barbed darts are already in the bull (with what looks like a little blood around the points of impact).



  • Reviewed January 29, 2008 / Posted February 1, 2008

    Other new and recent reviews include:

    [The Batman] [Cyrano] [Studio 666] [The Cursed] [Dog] [Uncharted]

    Privacy Statement and Terms of Use and Disclaimer
    By entering this site you acknowledge to having read and agreed to the above conditions.

    All Rights Reserved,
    ©1996-2022 Screen It, Inc.