The Sea Inside

on December 17, 2004 by Kevin Courrier
Often when films (such as "Whose Life is it Anyway?") tackle difficult subjects like euthanasia, they soften it with tepid lectures on morality. In "The Sea Inside," Alejandro Amenabar has created a stunningly lyrical movie that takes us inside the imagination of a quadriplegic man (Javier Bardem). Rather than seeking death in order to end his tragic life, he wishes instead to simply be free of the body he's trapped in.

"The Sea Inside" is based loosely on the true story of the Galacian sailor Ramon Sampedro, who became paralyzed from the neck down in a diving accident. He later began a long legal tussle with the Spanish government for the right to die. Although Spanish law wouldn't permit it, Sampedro eventually carried out an assisted suicide with the help of many friends to prevent any one person being charged.

The Incredibles "The Sea Inside," which has cascading dream-like imagery, is anchored by the rock-steady performance of Javier Bardem. Although he's predominantly confined to a bed, Bardem is so expressive that every tiny movement he makes is charged with meaning. The movie also adds a couple of subplots that work marvelously: a lawyer (Belen Rueda) who is suffering from a wasting disease becomes his fantasy lover and kindred spirit; and Rosa (Lola Duenas), a working-class mother who initially seeks to dissuade him from his goal, gradually comes to see the world through his eyes. "The Sea Inside" is a film about death that is consistently brimming with life. Starring Javier Bardem, Belen Rueda and Lola Duenas. Directed by Alejandro Amenabar. Written by Alejandro Amenabar and Mateo Gil. Produced by Fernando Bovaira and Alejandro Amenabar. A Fine Line release. Drama. Spanish-language; subtitled. Rated PG-13 for intense depiction of mature thematic material. Running time: 125 min

Tags: Alejandro Amenabar, Javier Bardem, death, disability, true story, foreign, Spanish, Belen Rueda, Lola Duenas

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