Sam Meltzer’s review published on Letterboxd:
The Diving Bell: trapped, uncomfortable, and in a constant loop of stress and desperation. Jean is stuck in a position where he loses touch with his surroundings, is unable to speak, and cannot move anything besides one eye.
The Butterfly: a world of ambition, love, beauty, imagination, and determination where Jean can both reflect and absorb his past. He cherishes the experiences he had solely within his thoughts yet is able to engender an incipient and controlled environment that gives him illimitable hope.
Julian Schnabel has created the most intimate film of all time, placing me in the headspace of a man who’s lost his physical life and can only communicate through the blinks of a single eye. As a viewer, I’m paralyzed as well, and am capable of enduring each moment of discomfort yet revere every sense of catharsis or liberation. Switching authentically between intense perspectives, Schnabel has both given me a deep understanding of a tremendously harmful condition and a more powerful appreciation for my well-being.