Sea Inside

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Movie Review by Neils Hesse

Starring: Javier Bardem, Belen Rueda, Lola Duenas, Mabel Rivera, Celso Bugallo

Director: Alejandro Amenabar

One of the most difficult situations to face in life today is when you have a person who is entirely helpless and can only survive with the help of another person, which to most people means that they are simply existing not living. There may then come a point when the person may wish to end his existence, is this right or is this wrong? Should that individual have the power to make this choice or not?

When we first see Ramón Sampedro (Javier Bardem) he is lying in bed joyfully speaking to his nephew and getting ready to meet a lawyer who can help him put his case to the courts of Spain so that he can effectively end his own life. You see Ramón is a paraplegic but he hasn’t always been one, he became one after a tragic diving accident many years ago. As Ramón begins to spend time with this female lawyer so that she can understand why exactly he wants to end his life he begins to remember his past and his many travels and the power of love, a power that he thought was lost to him forever.

Despite his obvious troubles Ramón remains extremely joyful and totally unafraid of meeting death much to the sorrow of those who have cared for him for so many years, all they feel is that he is being selfish and uncaring. Ramón must overcome all these obstacles if he truly wishes to be free.

Direction from Alejandro Amenabar is perfect with beautiful cinematography and many euphoric sweeping shots as we join Javier on the soaring trips he takes in his mind to the beach over many hills, across valleys and through forests. Also the emotions are never put across as simple melodrama, it is all heart felt and painfully realistically portrayed which suits the tale as it is based on a true story.

Even though it is a serious drama there are many funny moments, compliments of Javier Bardem’s passionately charismatic portrayal of a man who had it all but then lost what he saw as being everything in a matter of seconds. His portrayal is at times truly tear jerking yet also extremely amusing as his character is constantly having a poke at his condition. Never for one moment do you have any doubts that the person you are watching on the screen is not a paraplegic as his performance is flawless.

Not exactly a feel good movie but a spectacular one nonetheless and in its own way it is a miraculous celebration of humanity with a wondrous combination of powerful acting and filmmaking.

5 out of 6 stars