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5 reviews, 34 user ratings

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Sea Inside, The
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by Elaine Perrone

"Ramón, Full of Grace."
5 stars

Exquisitely crafted, photographed, and performed, The Sea Inside is equally as uplifting as it is heartbreaking. It is the story of a man seeking his right to death by euthanasia that is filled to the brim with irony, vitality, and humor.

Javier Bardem is electrifying as Ramón Sampedro, a poet trapped inside the body of a quadriplegic, a Galician fisherman who was left paralyzed from the neck down as a result of a freak diving accident.

After his accident, Ramón lived for 30 years in the care of his sister-in-law Manuela (Mabel Rivera), who loved and tended him as she would her own child, anguishing even as she respected and supported his wish to end his life. His brother José (Celso Bugallo), a farmer and an intensely religious man, was vehemently opposed to Ramón’s battle with the Spanish government for his right to die. Ramón’s stolid father Joaquín (Joan Dalmau) said little but had to have agonized over any parent’s greatest dread of a child predeceasing him. Rounding out Ramón’s family was his beloved nephew Javi (Tamar Novas), who doted on the uncle who chided him about his grammar and who was blessed with youth’s incomprehension on the finality of death.

Ultimately, ten people collaborated with Sampedro on his death by cyanide poisoning in 1998, which was filmed for Spanish television. Each had just little enough involvement to avoid prosecution for murder. Here, writer-director Alejandro Amenábar has created a composite of those people in three women who helped Ramón end his life with the dignity he craved.

Gené (Clara Seguara) is a civil-rights activist, an ebullient woman who champions Ramón’s right to die at the same time she celebrates her own pregnancy and the birth of her child.

Julia (Belén Rueda) is the lawyer hired by Gené to fight for Ramón’s cause. She is a woman suffering from a debilitating disease of her own, who becomes Ramón’s soulmate and helps him finish out his life by creating a book of his poetry – a book he titles “Letters from Hell.”

Rosa (Lola Dueñas) is a single mother who befriends and ultimately falls in love with Ramón after seeing him on television, who pleads with him to rethink the sanctity and value of his life. Ironically, it is she who must rethink her own beliefs when Ramón opens her mind to his definition of love.

Besides directing, co-writing (with Mateo Gil), and editing his film, Amenábar composed its rapturous original score, which he complemented with classic music played on Sampedro’s own record player. In one wondrous fantasy scene in which he is transported by Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma,” Ramón (Romeo) rises out of the bed that has become his prison and soars over trees, across fields, and past mountains to greet Julia (Juliet), the lover who awaits him at his beloved seashore – the sea, which he says, gave him life and then took it away.

Many actors have done wonderful work performing as handicapped characters. I can think of only two – Bardem here, and Moon So-ri in Oasis – who have accomplished the incredible task of creating a disabled character and a parallel able-bodied one. Bardem’s feat is all the more remarkable for the fact that he was called upon to act only with his face – the face that, in Ramón Sampedro’s own words, learned to cry by smiling. Bardem is simply stunning!

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=10625&reviewer=376
originally posted: 12/18/04 12:58:07
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Toronto Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

2/18/09 NANA MAGHRADZE Splendid script and Breathtaking performance 5 stars
1/07/09 mr.mike Bardem in a virtuoso performance. 4 stars
11/28/08 brian Euthenasia? No, middle-aged in Europe. 4 stars
5/20/07 fools♫gold No film that is this thoughtfully entertaining seeks for an Oscar! 5 stars
8/12/05 Lily Moving , romantic, and funny. 4 stars
7/20/05 Chris Great movie, great acting from Bardem 5 stars
7/03/05 Jackie moving, inspiring, not to be missed 5 stars
6/11/05 B. Patrick remarkable 5 stars
4/29/05 jcjs wonderul..saw one similar a couple years ago but i think i liked this one more, both nice 5 stars
1/31/05 eva 14 goyas, globo de oro,leon de plata...falta el Oscar. es la pelicula del año!. 5 stars
1/29/05 Carrie Hubbard I didn't feel it was Oscar Worthy, but not a bad movie. 4 stars
1/27/05 Tricky that's a masterpiece. One of the best films of the year. Brilliant in all aspects 5 stars
12/30/04 Ziggy Impresionante, read Sampedro's book 5 stars
12/23/04 Maurice Feller Delicious and sensitive movie 5 stars
12/18/04 fan-bardem Wonderful movie.Bardem is the best! 5 stars
12/06/04 ana un obra maestra.Poetica,magnifica musica,grandes actuaciones,fotografia.Ries y Lloras. 5 stars
12/04/04 Mary The best film of the year-. 5 stars
12/03/04 david Bardem the best actoy of year 5 stars
11/27/04 Mikey One of the best films i've ever seen 5 stars
11/20/04 nick kalokasides Disappointed, seeking for Oscars but completely flat 3 stars
11/19/04 me horrible 5 stars
11/19/04 I NOTHING TO SAY 5 stars
11/19/04 JAKE THE BEST 5 stars
11/16/04 Susan Great film 5 stars
11/13/04 Ataraxia The film of the year 5 stars
11/12/04 David I'ts beautiful, perfect 5 stars
10/26/04 Patricia Absolutamente excepcional 5 stars
10/26/04 JOhn Waterloo Incredible performance, amazong script, timeless story 5 stars
10/23/04 ana Maravillosa pelicula. Bardem esta genial. 5 stars
10/20/04 Mavi Interesting topic:euthanasia is well planned and good acting of Javier Bardem 5 stars
10/17/04 Slicker So Beautiful 5 stars
9/19/04 denny films don't get much more beautiful than this - emotionally, intellectually and beauty 5 stars
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  DVD: 17-May-2005



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