The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Director: Julian Schnabel
Year Released: 2007
Rating: 2.0

Real-life tearjerker - about French Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby's debilitating stroke and full-body paralysis - dressed up by N.Y. artist Schnabel to be a 'legit' art film, filled with various odd inserts (like glaciers melting, butterflies flying and lead Mathieu Amalric in a diving suit) and the clever idea of showing a good portion of it from the main character's (obstructed) POV, allowing cinematographer Janusz Kaminski to use as many filters and switches as there are on his camera. But no matter what you do with it from an aesthetic viewpoint - and frankly, the show-off technique gets so over-done it becomes a distraction - it's still your basic "life can be beautiful" movie, revealing how his struggle allowed for him to look over his whole existence, apologize to those he needed to apologize to, and so forth. Still, being a the-glass-isn't-just-half-empty, there-is-no-glass kind of guy, this comes across as a regular horror show, not a depiction of the will-to-survive, and if I were in Bauby's place I'd be praying for some gorgeous nurse (say, Marie-Josée Croze) to smother me with a pillow or her own body (the body would be preferred). What sweeter way is there to die? (I am now accepting alternative suggestions.)