If you’re anything like me, you may find discovering new music and movies a bit intimidating. To ease the risk factor, I’ll share my thoughts on new movies I watch so you know what you’re getting into beforehand. The goal is to give you the courage to watch a strange and new movie. And unlike real movie critics, I’ll keep the convoluted syntax and pretentious criticism to a minimum.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a film based on a memoir by Jean-Dominque Bauby, former editor of the French magazine Elle. The film follows Bauby’s life after he suffers a stroke that leaves him paralyzed from the neck down. We see the world through Bauby’s eyes, to the point that we don’t actually see what Bauby looks like until half-way through the movie. Try to be patient with this filming style- the point is to purposely disorient the viewer so you can empathize with the main character. It worked for me: I’m not naturally an empathetic person, but by the end of this movie I felt Bauby’s struggle as if it were my own.
Like any good story, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly isn’t just about Bauby’s life. It tackles themes like the stories we tell ourselves, and how we can find meaning in life even when we’re limited in our capacities. With only his imagination and memories to entertain him, he shows us that when stripped to our core, it is our imagination and memory that make us who we are. Bauby embodies the triumph of the human spirit, something that should stir any good libertarian.
So why should you put The Diving Bell and the Butterfly in your Netflix queue? Because when you view the world through Bauby’s eyes, you remember your own limitations and take comfort in imagination.