The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly ★★★½

It's always struck me as fascinating that human beings are such social creatures that even in a maximum security prison, filled with the best examples of the absolute worst that mankind has to offer, most people would rather share a cell with whichever rapist or murderer seems the least intimidating than be in solitary confinement with nothing to keep them company but their own thoughts. To me it seems a kind of superpower to realize that we have the ability to be happy just by recognizing certain things about the nature of our own consciousness. That, I think, is what this movie is about.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a testament to the power of the mind. A man loses the ability to speak and move, and he understandably falls into a deep state of despair, until he is eventually able to recognize that he still has control of his own mind - his imagination and his memories. He writes a memoir, spends time with his family, builds relationships, and finds some semblance of satisfaction within the new confines of his life by appreciating what he does have rather than focusing on what he doesn't. It sounds a little cheesy when I write it like that, but the film is anything but; it's a heartfelt and deeply moving portrait of life stripped down to its barest form, and how it's still a beautiful and precious thing.

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