Brilliant. Exquisite. Poetic. Clean. Elegant. Powerful. True.
Based on a true story. The editor of "Elle" (fashion) magazine, Jean-Dominique Bauby, a rather libido-driven guy, early forties, has a stroke---which leaves him totally paralyzed, and only able to see and blink with one eye.
The film starts with him coming out of a coma...and follows him from there. Not a very promising concept for a major motion picture, but thanks in some part to the courage of Miramax, the Weinstein's, and the greatness of the filmmakers, it got made...and wonderfully so. Oh, did I mention: the film is based on Mr. Bauby's autobiography, dictated letter by letter with a single- or double-blink of his one good eye while in the hospital,!
See this film.
See it on a big screen; not on your mobile phone. Sub-titled. It's beauty warrants and deserves it's true size. See it if you see nothing else this year.
Yes; it is a foreign film (French). Of course.
After leaving the Academy, after seeing the film there, I said ruefully to my wife: "Why are all the best movies these days ("Talk to Her", last year's "Lives of Others", this year's "Eastern Promises"...) made by foreigners?!
I got home, I looked up the director's name, Julian Schnabel, on IMDB, Inter Movie Data Base. He was born in Brooklyn, raised in Brownsville, TX, and schooled at the University of Houston!!!! He just directs foreign!...With sensitivity, style, meaning, intelligence, insight and wit.
Am I saying that Americans do not have these qualities. Sure they do. But the ones that do just don't get hired very much by studio executives who ($$$$-driven) are pandering after kids who they assume in their movie tastes and desires are not sensitive and bright. But...French kids are
The writer of this film, by the way, Ronald Harwood, was an actor very early in his career, and the writer of "The Pianist" and "The Dresser". He is seventy-three. Schnabel is fifty-five. Schnabel does not have a long list of film credits to his name (over the years he has been busy also being a fine artist; a painter). If there is any justice, he will start compiling a long list of film credits now.
The acting is amazing. Each character is distinct. Each character has a story to tell...and you like them all, warts and all. An overall brilliant effort. David Denby, the critic for the "New Yorker" magazine, said it best: "A feast of movie making. It feels like nothing less than the rebirth of the cinema."