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The Sea Inside (Mar Adentro) (The Sea Within) (2004)



Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 131
Fresh: 110 | Rotten: 21

Held aloft by a transfixing performance from Javier Bardem as a terminally ill man who chooses to die, The Sea Inside transcends its melodramatic story with tenderness and grace.


Average Rating: 7.5/10
Critic Reviews: 39
Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 7

Held aloft by a transfixing performance from Javier Bardem as a terminally ill man who chooses to die, The Sea Inside transcends its melodramatic story with tenderness and grace.



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Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 35,960

My Rating

Movie Info

Two of the most talented figures in contemporary Spanish cinema -- actor Javier Bardem and director Alejandro Amenábar -- collaborate for this powerful drama, based on a true story. Ramón Sampedro (Javier Bardem) was a fisherman and part-time poet who, at the age of 26, suffered an accident while diving that left him a bedridden quadriplegic. Now 54, Ramón must depend on his family to survive -- his macho brother José (Celso Bugallo), José's wife, Manuela (Mabel Rivera), and their son, Javi

May 17, 2005


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All Critics (142) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (110) | Rotten (21) | DVD (28)

Bardem is simply astounding as Sampedro.

March 4, 2005
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If ever there was a film that deserved to get the proverbial bump from Oscar, this is it. Rarely has any film so focused on death felt so vibrantly alive.

March 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

For whatever reason, it's an injustice that Bardem was not nominated for best actor.

February 17, 2005 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Bardem's Ramón is such a vital life force, it's all the more bittersweet to watch him fight to leave a world that would be much emptier and sadder without him in it.

February 17, 2005 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[VIDEO ESSAY] Alejandro Amenábar's seamless depiction of Ramón Sampedro's battle for his own sense of integrity arrives in refreshing cinematic terms.

April 27, 2013 Full Review Source:

Fascinating story too complex for young viewers.

January 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

It's a good movie. It's just not a movie for which I can work up much personal enthusiasm.

November 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

The performances are heartbreaking, the story both tragic and uplifting - Amenabar has crafted yet another movie that's sure to please many.

June 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

The production itself is so rich in authentic emotional life and breathtaking visuals, word of mouth and positive reviews should carry the (pay) day.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Bio-pic chronicles quadriplegic Ramon's Sampredo's 28-year crusade to legalize euthanasia in order that he be allowed to die with dignity.

February 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Princeton Town Topics
Princeton Town Topics

The film is worth seeing, but only if you're prepared to set aside your aversion to its polemic in order to experience its compassion.

October 11, 2006
Christianity Today

An intelligent and moving treatment of a potentially maudlin subject matter.

February 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Cinemania

what could have been unrelieved morbid dreariness becomes, in the hands of Amenabar, a provocative and unexpectedly life-affirming story...

April 14, 2005 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

The result, as imagined by Amenábar, who co-wrote the screenplay with Mateo Gil, is like watching the human spirit flash before your eyes.

April 7, 2005
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The acting in the film is superb, especially by Bardem, who richly deserved his Academy Award nomination.

April 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Javier Bardem gives a remarkable, delicately honed performance.

April 1, 2005 Full Review Source: Metro Weekly (Washington, DC)
Metro Weekly (Washington, DC)

Rare is the motion picture which grapples with issues this provocative and profound. Rarer still is one which does so this well.

March 22, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Had its beautiful moments but also had its soap opera moments.

March 19, 2005 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Respectable but undistinguished, and it places a distant second to 2004's other award winner about euthanasia (don't ask, won't tell).

March 18, 2005 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

Bardem's performance, a true triumph of face acting, imbues the character with simultaneous impish mischief and weary resignation.

March 17, 2005 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

It's curious that the assisted-suicide debate over a late plot twist in Million Dollar Baby didn't rage over this one. After all, Amenabar is dealing with a real life.

March 10, 2005

A lyrical and warm film.

March 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Audience Reviews for The Sea Inside (Mar Adentro) (The Sea Within)

For some reason, a cinematic trend exists where there are multiple films based on true stories about people confined to beds or other limiting situations, and their inspiring stories of overcoming their predicaments. There's The Diving Bell and the Butterfly which looked at locked-in syndrome, and the dude learning to communicate solely by blinking; with The Sessions, a bed-ridden poet crippled by polio fights to lose his virginity, and, then there is this film, which looks at the nearly thirty year struggle of Ramon Sampedro to fight for his right to die with dignity after being paralyzed thanks to a diving accident.

For all I know, there could be more of these films. And of these three, this one is probably my least favorite.

Don't get me wrong, this is a good movie, and I really enjoyed it, but I found it to be somewhat underwhelming, and a bit hard to get invested in, or at least compared to the other two I mentioned.

I did like though, that even though the film tackles a controversial subject (euthanasia), Ramon is selfish about it in that he's fighting only for HIS personal right to die with dignity instead of becoming the champion for a cause. Well, I mean, his efforts could be looked at as the basis for a larger campaign, but it's basically just a personal crusade.

The argument for both sides of the issue is addressed, and even some of Ramon's family and close associates don't necessarily agree with him, yet they still look out for him and help care for him, and that's really something.

There are some moments that are truly visually striking, but, unlike The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, this one is less focused on innovative ways to portray the situation, and is primarily a showcase for acting.

And this is where the film is the strongest. Javier Bardem gives easily one of his best performances as Ramon. He spends most of the time in old man makeup and in a bed, but that's no easy task as he's not really able to move on his own besides his head and face a little bit. It's definitely a strong and inspiring performance, but the supporting cast are also quite strong, though this is clearly Bardem's film.

Given the subject matter, you'd think this would be a pretty heavy and serious film, and yeah, for the most part it is. However, it's not completely depressing, and there's a fair amount of humor, which surprised me. Of course, someone in Ramon's situation probably needs to develop some sort of sense of humor to cope, so I shouldn't be that surprised. But still, it was unexpected just how wickedly (and morbidly) funny this guy is.

The film is slightly preachy, but overall let's the viewer decide for themselves what is supposedly right or wrong. Granted, the film does ultimately take a side, but that's not really the point. This is primarily a personal journey, and a reflection of trying to make the most of life despite certain circumstances, even if that means spending that time trying to die because that's what personally seems like the best course of action.

September 24, 2013
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Heart-wrenching to watch.
November 20, 2012

Super Reviewer

Euthanasia is a tricky subject, not one you can go into lightly. Alejandro Amenábar was a brave man to tackle the story of Ramon Sampedro but I thought he did it respectfully and honestly. I'm yet to see a bad Javier Bardem performance either, he's rapidly becoming one of my all time favourite actors. Agree or disagree with Euthanasia, you can't deny this film raises quite a few important questions - thought provoking and beautiful, a masterful piece of cinema.
September 16, 2011

Super Reviewer

A very interesting topic is not served well in this overwrought dull drama. I love films that question morality and humanity. However, I don't want a bunch of people arriving and just discussion their feelings/emotions. If that's the case, a documentary would have been much more fitting. Bardem's performance is a thing of beauty, and the main recipient of the the 2 and a half stars I give it. Obviously, due to his condition, he isn't going to get out and about. In saying that, the most memorable moments are those out of the bedroom. The accident, the imaginary flying, the courtroom scenes etc. In one way it emphasized his desire to die, and how his life was kept in this one room, but it didn't make an interesting film.
May 23, 2011

Super Reviewer

    1. Ramón Sampedro: True love means to let me go.
    – Submitted by Lars P (2 years ago)
View all quotes (1)

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