The Diving Bell and the Butterfly 2007

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Critics Consensus

Breathtaking visuals and dynamic performances make The Diving Bell and the Butterfly a powerful biopic.

94%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 173

92%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 150,012

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The Diving Bell and the Butterfly Photos

Movie Info

Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric), editor-in-chief of French fashion bible Elle magazine, has a devastating stroke at age 43. The damage to his brain stem results in locked-in syndrome, with which he is almost completely paralyzed and only able to communicate by blinking an eye. Bauby painstakingly dictates his memoir via the only means of expression left to him.

Cast & Crew

Mathieu Amalric
Jean-Dominique Bauby
Emmanuelle Seigner
Celine Desmoulin
Marie-Josée Croze
Henriette Durand
Jon Kilik
Producer
Pierre Grunstein
Executive Producer
Jim Lemley
Executive Producer
Janusz Kaminski
Cinematographer
Juliette Welfling
Film Editor
Paul Cantelon
Original Music
Olivier Bériot
Costume Designer
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News & Interviews for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Critic Reviews for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

All Critics (173) | Top Critics (49) | Fresh (163) | Rotten (10)

Audience Reviews for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

  • Mar 24, 2013
    One of the most stunning emotional knockouts recorded in cinematic history concerning an editor (Mathieu Amalric) who suffers a massive stroke, but remains determined to write his memoirs of his experiences through communicating with the only part of his body that isn't paralyzed, one of his eyes, to an aide. What director Julian Schnabel has constructed is an unnerving, extremely personal masterpiece in struggling to overcome an affliction, and the self-doubts, guilt, anger, and fleeting hope one encounters along the way. The acting is very good, although that is not what is most impressive about the film, which is how it is told through Amalric's character's perspective, showing just how much of a struggle something like this can be. While it is relentlessly sad, it is powerful and incredibly moving all the way through. This is a movie that should be a must-see for anyone who knows someone dealing with a stroke or some other kind of physical ailment. It does a flawless job capturing the emotional cycle and inner-thoughts of someone who deals with it, somehow, someway.
    Dan S Super Reviewer
  • Oct 11, 2012
    Beautifully filmed, marvelously acted and emotionally resonant, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is an engaging achievement in filmmaking is near the epitome of novel-to-movie adaptations.
    Isaac H Super Reviewer
  • May 24, 2012
    Julian Schnabel's THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY is an intimate drama that features not only an emotionally-engaging character at its core - a paralyzed man who learns to communicate with only one eye en route to miraculously and painstakingly managing to write an autobiography (true story) - but also a strong and bold visual style amidst an admirable and important subject matter - the impact and reality of suffering a stroke, its frightening possibilities, as well as the resiliency of overcoming such an accident. Mathieu Amalric delivers a fine performance as Jean-Dominic Bauby and impresses with his ability to capture the life of a paralyzed man by conveying emotions only through one eye. Amalric nails this difficult task and immediately connects viewers to his character's struggles. Aiding in this task is Janusz Kaminski's evocative and experimental cinematography. The camera often times acts as Bauby's perspective by taking on a first-person point of view - Kaminski captures this effectively by modifying the look to match the character's impaired vision; it mimics the character as it also cries, blinks, blurs, and moves. It is impressive work, and strongly complements the powerful story that Schnabel successfully tells. As admirable as all this may be, however, not much really happens in this film. Yes, it is a heartfelt story of a man fighting to cope, and yes, it contains delicate themes, but just because a film consists of important real-life issues and stirring based-on-true-event stories does not automatically mean it is a great one. By looking past this heavy topic, one may realize that Schnabel's film suffers from a narrative structure that proves to be too stinted and, well, too boring. It is a film that is purposely built around its repetition, which ends up being both its strength and weakness - it expresses the hardship of Bauby perfectly but prolongs the pace and disrupts the momentum of the film. The various cutaways to imaginative moments of Bauby's thoughts and dreams are fine attempts to break away from the claustrophobic mood that is established, but they don't really say much and in fact feel like pretentious additions by Schnabel to fluff up the importance of his main character. Why not show even more of Bauby's life prior to the accident instead? One would imagine that to know more about who this editor of 'Elle' is would mean to care for him more. For instance, his father is present, but only briefly and without real validity. Yes, the backbone of the story is there - writing an entire book with one eye is quite a feat - but the potential for greatness is unfortunately overlooked, and therefore leaves this admirably-made film, in my opinion, a bit disappointing.
    Sheldon C Super Reviewer
  • Feb 01, 2012
    Terrific! That's the thing I was talking about!
    Lucas M Super Reviewer

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