I’m not posting this image because it’s striking or, in fact, any good. Just the opposite, in fact. The Diving Bell And The Butterfly is one of the most impressive films I’ve seen in what’s shaping up to be a truly great year for movies, and I’m frightened that people might see this in a cinema somewhere and shrug off the film as just another romcom or maudlin Euro import.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Actually, this poster really bugs me, because it does nothing to represent the grace and ingenuity with which Julien Schnabel’s film captures a story that would, under most circumstances, be as static and interesting as dandruff.
Since I’m saving more comments for the almost-done review, I’ll just reproduce what I wrote after seeing the film in Toronto:
Diving Bell is mostly an adaptation of the memoir of the same name by French Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, who was severely paralyzed after a massive stroke. The book was dictated by blinking his left eyelid to ‘speak’ words one letter at a time.
Every actor in the film works magic, and Schnabel (with cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, doing career-high work) creates a stylization that isn’t at all devoid of content, but serves perfectly to recreate within us some semblance of the isolation felt by Bauby. Much of the film is from a first-person perspective, and it’s all wildly moving.
Or, in short, this film is far more captivating and infinitely more memorable than the poster makes it appear. It’s one of the must-sees when the limited release begins at the end of November. Don’t miss it just because the studio came up with a shitty poster.