The Sea Inside (2004)
Genre: Drama (Spain France Italy)
Starring: Javier Bardem (Before Night Falls), Belén Rueda
Directed By: Alejandro Amenábar (The Others; Open Your Eyes)
Overview: Based on the true story of a quadriplegic fighting for his right to die by euthanasia.
Acting: If I'm not mistaken, this actor was nominated for the Oscar, and with good reason. Javier, Belén, and all the rest, every single one deserve the highest rating possible for the portrayals they perform. You will never see anyone surpass such brilliance. Exquisite.
Cinematography: When we see Javier in his moments alone, it's always to take us on a beautiful excursion, like a flight across the plains or a visit to the beach. In every scene, the camera seems to take us to the best parts of Spain, the sea, the fantastic realms of the character's desires, the most dramatic close-ups. You will not be disappointed by the visuals in this, guaranteed.
Script: Acting and writing seem to go hand in hand usually, but what perfect complement! One scene struck me as particularly well done: The nephew is made to read one of the protagonist's poems, and in the end the deeper meaning is lost to the teen. This scene could have been a beautiful connecting moment between a nephew and an uncle, but ended up being a true testament to the patience of an older man with the immaturity of his younger counterpart. Throughout, it is true and honest without ever being rushed. No better.
Plot: All told a little weak, transparent. A man who wants to die fights the system, and of course doesn't get granted his wish. As a plot in itself, it's see-though and predictable. Though, instead of taking us through the rigmarole of the court battle (which was no more than a very short sequence), the director takes us through the character's personal struggles with religious advocates and family strife; fame and love versus the finality of death and the final decision that must be made. Unique and wonderful.
Mood: A tear-jerker most definitely. A brilliant character study, a masterpiece of film and cinematography, music and emotion. You will not be disappointed by the way this movie conveys every part of the dramatic.
Aftertaste: It's great when you go to a movie expecting a good time with a couple of friends and end up seeing a jewel of a film that you can only see in those independent art houses that you visit on occasion. When the friend who took you gets lost in the moment and forgets that she's running a red light, it's a true testament of the fact that this film is something worthy of anyone repertoire. Of course, if you have an issue with foreign films with subtitles, you really should go elsewhere. This is not the site for you. I'll tell you though, you're missing out, unless you actually LIKE seeing Coca-Cola ads plastered everywhere...