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The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Still of Emmanuelle Seigner in The Diving Bell and the ButterflyStill of Mathieu Amalric and Anne Consigny in The Diving Bell and the ButterflyMax von Sydow at event of The Diving Bell and the ButterflyStill of Mathieu Amalric in The Diving Bell and the ButterflyStill of Max von Sydow and Mathieu Amalric in The Diving Bell and the ButterflyBest Director

The true story of Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby who suffers a stroke and has to live with an almost totally paralyzed body; only his left eye isn't paralyzed.

Release Year: 2007

Rating: 8.1/10 (47,184 voted)

Critic's Score: 92/100

Director: Julian Schnabel

Stars: Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Josée Croze

Elle France editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, who, in 1995 at the age of 43, suffered a stroke that paralyzed his entire body, except his left eye. Using that eye to blink out his memoir, Bauby eloquently described the aspects of his interior world, from the psychological torment of being trapped inside his body to his imagined stories from lands he'd only visited in his mind.

Writers: Ronald Harwood, Jean-Dominique Bauby

Mathieu Amalric - Jean-Do
Emmanuelle Seigner - Céline
Marie-Josée Croze - Henriette Roi
Anne Consigny - Claude
Patrick Chesnais - Le Docteur Lepage
Niels Arestrup - Roussin
Olatz López Garmendia - Marie Lopez
Jean-Pierre Cassel - Père Lucien et le Vendeur
Marina Hands - Joséphine
Max von Sydow - Papinou
Gérard Watkins - Le Docteur Cocheton
Théo Sampaio - Théophile
Fiorella Campanella - Céleste
Talina Boyaci - Hortense
Isaach De Bankolé - Laurent

Taglines: Let your imagination set you free


Official Website: Official site [Spain] |

Release Date: 23 May 2007

Filming Locations: Berck, Pas-de-Calais, France

Opening Weekend: €13,473 (Belgium) (27 May 2007) (5 Screens)

Gross: $5,990,075 (USA) (6 April 2008)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Almost the entire opening 40 minutes of the film are taken from Bauby's point of view.

Anachronisms: When Jean-Dominique goes on a boat ride, a 'Speedferries' vessel can be seen in the background. Speedferries started business in 2004, years after the movie was set.

Jean-Dominique Bauby: I decided to stop pitying myself. Other than my eye, two things aren't paralyzed, my imagination and my memory.

User Review

Cinematic Art achieved

Rating: 10/10

One of the best films in years, and in artistic cinematic terms, one of the best films I've ever seen. That's a heavy statement to make, but off the top of my head, I cannot think of another film that explores the inner workings of a character so intimately and believably, while blending cinematography, sound effects, and musical score in such harmony -- but in a fashion we (as American's at least) are not trained to enjoy. I felt the French influence strongly cinematically and, of course in the dialogue, but the writing and acting was so fluid it felt like the subtitles weren't even there.

The film deals with a rare physical condition, and I was physically there with the character from start to finish. I felt each moment as if it were my own. That is a rare accomplishment in cinema. Julian Schnabel directed a stellar cast. Mathieu Amalric was unusually charming as Jean-Dominique Bauby, and Max Von Sydow was heartbreaking as his lonely widower father. The female leads were all equally impressive as they were beautiful. I don not mean to generalize them, but they were all so excellent that they blend seamlessly in my mind, in terms of performance.

Overall, this film was as pure a cinematic experience as I've witnessed in a long time. A true artist turns out a film that is truly a piece of art. Julian Schnabel takes his time in between films, but with work like this, there's no need to rush. Like a good painting, one can enjoy it for a lifetime.

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