by Xavier Toby in New Film on Thursday 20 March 2008

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a reminder of why the medium of film is so special. It features first rate visuals, performances, direction and acting, all of which fits together into one of the most insightful, powerful and touching pieces of cinema ever. It begins from the point of view of a character that has become paralysed, apart from one eye and a fully functioning brain. Flashbacks are used sparingly and make such an impact due to their brevity. Mathieu Amalric gives a phenomenal performance as both the fully functioning editor of Elle Magazine and a drooling invalid with one over-active eye. A visceral emotional strength is packed into nearly every scene as his disability disarms friends and family and their respect and love for him shine through. Based on a true story, this is a rare piece of cinema that is as uplifting as it is extraordinarily depressing. A new entry into my top five films of all time.