Film Comment - 11/01/2007
"The result is like a precious art object -- crafted by a painter -- that through emotional wealth and visual invention amplifies the poignancy found on the page."
Box Office - 12/01/2007
"[Schnabel] possesses an imaginative eye that avoids the obvious and mawkish."
New York Times - 11/30/2007
"[Mr. Schnabel] demonstrates his own imaginative freedom in every frame and sequence, dispensing with narrative and expository conventions in favor of a wild, intuitive honesty."
USA Today - 11/30/2007 3 stars out of 4 -- "[S]urrealistic and inventive. The film version of the best-selling memoir THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY is visually arresting and a tribute to the power of imagination..."
Rolling Stone - 12/13/2007 3.5 stars out of 4 -- "[Schnabel's] best film yet, a high-wire act of visual daring and unquenchable spirit."
Entertainment Weekly - 12/21/2007
"[The director] has scattered, layered, and shuffled images to create a very specific universe as sensual as the subject himself described it in hard-won words." -- Grade: A-
Los Angeles Times - 11/30/2007
"[The] imaginative and sensitive film, starring France's gifted Mathieu Amalric, is simultaneously uplifting and melancholy, suffused with an unexpected sense of possibility as much as the inevitable sense of loss."
Empire - 02/01/2008 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he visual style itself becomes the key element that allows us to understand and admire the way that Bauby's mental vivacity overcomes his physical limitations."
Sight and Sound - 02/01/2008
"[A] delicate and finely judged film....Janusz Kaminski's impressionistic cinematography can't help but seem refreshing..."
Uncut - 03/01/2008 5 stars out of 5 -- "Schnabel has transposed the book thoughtfully and successfully....It's an inspiring and profoundly moving experience."
Wall Street Journal - 05/24/2012
"Julian Schnabel's magnificent French-language film, like its true-life subject, transcends reality's prison with surreal buoyancy."
Celebrated painter and filmmaker Julian Schnabel's third feature finds him reaching new artistic heights with this audacious and personal biopic, based on the best-selling memoir of the same name. The film tells the remarkable tale of Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric), the world-renowned editor of French ELLE magazine, who suffered a stroke and was paralyzed by the inexplicable "locked in" syndrome at the age of 43. Bauby's only way of communicating with the outside world was by blinking with one eye, and after several dedicated helpers--a string of impossibly beautiful women (Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Josee Croze, Olatz Lopez Garamendia, Anne Consigny)--helped him to speak through this seemingly irrelevant gesture, he began to produce the words that would form his memoir. Along the way, as he swam in and out of consciousness, memories from his past swelled into the present, resulting in a cinematic experience that is at once heartbreaking and hopeful. Schnabel somehow manages to convey Bauby's internal life with remarkable clarity, employing first-person perspective, striking cinematography (by the always great Janusz Kaminski), and Amalric's pained, life-affirming monologues. The result is a wholly original experience, a painful and tender portrait of a life that is made all the more exhilarating because of its close proximity to death.
Theatrical Release |
NEW YORK PREMIERE AT NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL 2007 Theatrical Release: November 30, 2007 (Limited)