17 January 2008
Film brilliance: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.
Remember when Holly Hunter was all the rage when she took the challenging role of playing a mute pianist sold into marriage by her own father and her daughter's verbal translations are the only way she could actively participate in dialogue? And she wins the Best Actress Oscar and little Anna Paquin wins Best Supporting Actress and it's all lovely. Rightly so.
But I'll be honest, while the acting was quite superb, the movie itself was a bit of a snorefest. Having that in mind, when I saw The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, I had no idea how director Julian Schnabel would pull it off of telling the remarkable story of a man who could only communicate by blinking his left eye with occasional grunts. I was even more amazed by finding the right cast to pretend to be the actual patient people who helped Jean-Dominique Bauby, the famous French socialite and former editor of Elle, to be able to write his memoir through his one eye. It just utterly amazes me that Schnabel pulled that off so beautifully. I cannot stress that enough.
I tend to deviate from movies that is supposed to "inspire" us because in the end you realize that only a fourth of the film that was "based on a true story" was actually accurate. I guess you can say I'm a stickler of accuracy when it comes to those kinds of movies. And after a while, you will learn what separates fiction from reality in Hollywood, because the results are ridiculously dramatic.
Nevertheless, I didn't have any premeditated biases when I watched the film because if you hadn't noticed already, I was more so intrigued by the fact that someone actually tackled this incredible story and wanted to turn it into a film. It emphasized so greatly the power of holding on to your imagination and your memories and exploiting those key elements through life even in the slightest bit of communication that you are restricted to. It's been a long time since I saw a movie so--dare I say?--inspirational in the sense that makes you appreciate everything beautiful, whether it's big or small.
My Oscars vote: Best Foreign Film (winner); Best Actor in a Leading Role: Mathieu Almaric (nominee); Best Cinematography (winner); Best Achievement in Direction: Julian Schnabel (nominee); Best Adapted Screenplay: Ronald Harwood (nominee)