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diving-bell-and-the-butterfly-le-scaphandre-et-le-papillon-1Another unlikely Christmas release, based on a true story, about the editor of French Elle, Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric), a man with a glamorous life overflowing with beautiful women, exotic travel and cash. Without warning he was struck down in his mid-forties by a massive stroke that left him with “locked-in” syndrome—paralyzed from head to toe but completely lucid and mentally alert.

With the help of a resourceful nurse he learned to communicate by using his one functional body part—his left eyelid. Using a painstaking method the nurse would read the alphabet to him and he would then blink when they hit on the letter he was thinking of to slowly form words, sentences and then paragraphs. Using this method he wrote a book about his experience with “locked-in” syndrome.

Sounds like a downer, but this is one of the movies of the year, brimming with great performances and beautifully directed by Julian Schnabel it comes complete with an uplifting feel that you wouldn’t necessarily expect from this kind of story. Unlike The Bucket List, The Diving Bell and The Butterfly never stoops to audience manipulation, it simply presents the story in a simple, heartfelt way and allows the viewer to follow their own feelings rather than have the filmmaker try to tell them how they should be reacting.

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