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The Sea Inside (2004)

Cast: Javier Bardem, Belen Rueda, Lola Duenas, more...
Director: Alejandro Amenábar
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Studio: New Line
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Biopics, Spain
Running Time: 125 min.
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Two of the most talented figures in the contemporary Spanish cinema -- actor Javier Bardem and director Alejandro Amenabar -- collaborate for this powerful drama, based on a true story. Ramon Sampedro (Javier Bardem) was a fisherman and part-time poet who, at the age of 26, suffered an accident while diving that left him a bedridden quadriplegic. Now 54, Ramon must depend on his family to survive -- his macho brother Jose (Celso Bugallo), Jose's wife Manuela (Mabel Rivera), and their son Javi (Tamar Novas). While grateful to his family and friends for their help, Ramon was always an active person, and as the years wear on he has come to see his life as frustrating and pointless, and wishes to die with what remains of his dignity. However, Jose is bitterly opposed to the notion of assisted suicide, and Spanish laws would implicate anyone who helped Ramon end his own life, which is something Ramon does not want to do. Through Gene (Carla Segura), a friend who works with a Right To Die organization, Ramon is introduced to Julia (Belen Rueda), a lawyer he hopes will help him persuade the courts to let him end his own life; Julia is dealing with her own mortality issues since being diagnosed with a degenerative disease, and Ramon hopes her condition will make her arguments more persuasive. As Ramon and Julia work together on his case, and help to prepare a book of his poems for publication, Ramon finds himself falling in love with his attorney, who happens to be married, but while his infatuation gives Julia second thoughts about the case, Ramon remains convinced that the greatest gift to him would be an end to his life. Javier Bardem's performance in The Sea Inside (aka Mar Adentro) earned him the Best Actor award at the 2004 Venice Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Full of Life by talltale June 13, 2005 - 2:39 PM PDT
6 out of 6 members found this review helpful
Don't expect another "Whose Life Is It, Anyway?" from THE SEA INSIDE. This Spanish movie about the quadriplegic who fought for years to end his own life is so ironically full of life, friends, family and ideas that it will grab you from the first frames, then delight, surprise and move you right through to the end. No simple minded, just-let-him-die routine, rather the movie allows you see his situation from the eyes of all those around him, while never losing touch with the fact this this life does indeed belong to the man who is living it.

Acted with exemplary finesse by Javier Bardem and the rest of its fine cast and directed and co-written (with Mateo Gil) by Alejandro Almenabar, using an appropriate restraint and tact that I have not noticed in his other films, this movie ends up being so much better than we might expect that it immediately joins the don't-miss/instant-classic category. It wouldn't surprise me to watch this film again in a year or so--and immediately upgrade it to level ten.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.76)
90 Votes
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