The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le scaphandre et le papillon) (2007)
Director: Julian Schnabel, Starring: Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Josee Croze
IMDb Plot summary: The true story of Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby who suffers a stroke and has to live with an almost totally paralyzed body; only his left eye isn’t paralyzed
This is a stunning film that not only offers an unusual sensory experience, but also a wonderful character study. Claustrophobic POV scenes in the film’s earlier half immerse us in Bauby’s experiences in a manner that is in equal parts frustrating and illuminating. However, later in the film, we also begin to see the world not only through his eyes, but through his imagination and memory, and this is where we find the film’s greatest achievements.
I can happily say that this is one of those rare films that manages to be hopeful and uplifting (I am conscious of verging on the cliched here!) without drenching the viewer in sentimentality. The performances are sensitive, with Mathieu Amalric and Marie-Josee Croze being stand-outs, and the whole affair is a visual treat to boot. A compelling story, inventively told. Highly recommended.