The Sea Inside is a powerful film based on the true story of Ramon Sampedro, a Galician sailor who, after a freak diving accident in his youth, became paralysed and spent the next 30 years a bed ridden quadriplegic, unable to move or feel any part of his body except his face. With supreme dignity, Ramon lived his life from the confines of his bedroom, with the window providing his imagination its only escape, back to the sea he loved.
Ramon feels that he should be allowed to end his life, after so much suffering and because of the burden he feels he is to his family. The law and the church stand in his way and this film's main theme explores the difficult topic of Euthanasia as Ramon continues to battle for his right to “Die with Dignity”.
Alejandro Amenabar (The Others) tells this story with a deftness and emotional sensitivity, the like of which I have rarely seen, certainly not often in a Hollywood production. It is never schmaltzy or patronising and is all the more powerful for it. The acting is superb and the performance of Javier Bardem as Ramon is mesmerising.
The fact that this is based on a true story also makes it all the more poignant and Ramon's family were consulted throughout the writing process to ensure they were happy. Amenabar has expertly taken the factual story and embellished it with the imagery from Ramon's imagination - Ramon is a real character and he wants no pity - his love for others is greater than for himself and this he explains, is why he smiles so much. After seeing so much anguish in the eyes of others, he says he has learnt to “cry by smiling”.
This is truly a superb film, after a summer of action blockbusters, this will bring you back to earth with a bang and remind you what cinema is really about. The film has won dozens of awards, most notably an Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 2005.
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