The movie is based on the true story of Ramón Sampedro, a former ship mechanic from Spain who was paralyzed from the neck down after a diving accident at age 26. For nearly 30 years he fought for the right to assisted suicide.
As a man committed to orchestrating his own death, Ramón (Javier Bardem) hardly seems bitter, angry, or morose. Rather, he exhibits spirit, compassion, and a playful wit. He delights in flirting with the various women in his life, dotes on his teenage nephew, and has devised a contraption that allows him to write (holding the pen between his teeth) what will become his autobiography.
Nevertheless, Ramón remains matter of fact and unshakeable about his wish to die. He refuses to continue a life where time passes against his will and where, as he says, the short distance between him and another human being is insurmountable.
Many pivotal scenes occur between Ramón and his attorney, Julia (Belén Rueda), who has taken on his case pro bono because she believes in his cause. She also has a deeply personal reason for championing his quest for euthanasia.
Confined to his bed at his family's farm in Galicia, Spain, Ramón becomes impatient when Julia interviews him about his life before the accident. He'd rather cut to the chase and discuss his euthanasia request, but Julia explains that the judges will want to identify with him as a person.
However, the legal system seems reluctant to identify with Ramón at all, and he and his supporters find themselves navigating a rigid labyrinth. A Barcelona court initially denies Ramon's request because it should have been filed in his hometown. In a federal courtroom scene, Julia's co-counsel argues that the law does not prosecute people who attempt suicide on their own, but in cases like Ramón's, where another person's assistance is required, the system treats them like criminals. The lawyer also begs the judges to let Ramón address the court. His appearance there is an extremely rare outing for him. To Ramón, using a wheelchair is tantamount to accepting a ''scrap'' of freedom, but he has allowed his family to load him into one, carry him down the farmhouse stairs, and have him shuttled to the courthouse so he can testify and prove he is of sound mind.
Other key characters include Ramón's bitter older brother, his kind-hearted and fiercely protective sister-in-law, and Rosa (Lola Duenas), a local woman who impulsively visits Ramón after seeing him in a television interview.
While the film is sometimes painfully sad, it has moments of joy, inspiration, and humor. In one comical scene, a priest—a quadriplegic himself—visits Ramón to talk him out of euthanasia. His wheelchair won't fit up the stairs, and Ramón refuses to be moved downstairs, so the priest sends his assistant to run up and down with messages until the two men finally resort to shouting their opposing viewpoints back and forth.
Bedridden for decades, Ramón's chief means of escape are his classical music records, his writing, and imagination. In one unforgettable scene, he imagines himself soaring out of his window and flying to the ocean as the soundtrack swells with the Puccini aria ''Nessun Dorma.'' Another poignant montage interweaves photos of Ramón as a robust young sailor with a heartbreaking flashback to his accident.
Acting only from the neck up, renowned Spanish actor Bardem (''Before Night Falls'') is remarkable as Ramón. The 35-year-old actor also spends most of his screen time in special makeup to transform him into a man in his 50s. His performance memorializes a man who wanted to die, yet lived his life with more grace than most people. The film is also an ode to the love and loyalty of Ramón's family and friends.
Directed by Alejandro Amenábar, who also made ''The Others'' and ''Abre Los Ojos,'' ''The Sea Inside'' opens in theaters Dec. 17.
If this article has helped you in some way, will you say thanks by sharing it through a share,
link, or an
email to someone you think would appreciate the reference.
Under the Sea Is Where You Should Be Dubai, a city well known for its extravagance, is planning to build the world's first luxury underwater resort – Hydropolis. It's about time. We've waited too long for a lavish underwater habitat!
A Scholar's Son's Sea Scrolls Conviction A Manhattan jury returned a guilty verdict late on Thursday, September 30, 2010 against New York lawyer Raphael Golb, for a myriad of charges including theft and impersonation. Less than an hour after the jury returned with its guilty verdict, he and his lawyer announced that he would appeal the jury's verdict.
Inside Legal Blogs Well, it's officially spring...and that's always good news, even if it's freezing outside today and we're all stuck inside. I tend to rationalize things this way: Even if it were nice outside, I'd still be stuck inside working. In fact, if it were nice outside, I'd be even bitterer about the fact that I'm stuck inside working. So it's better that the weather sucks…at least that's what I keep telling myself. But hey, even if you can't look forwa ...
Inside Legal Blogs Put on your work gloves, and hike up your pants. It's time once again to clean out the law blog gutters. Look at all these leaves stuck in here. What a mess. This might take a while. The law blog gutters get clogged from time to time, and that's when I come around to clear everything out so things can run smoothly.
Inside Legal Blogs Someone in heaven must be looking out for me. A week ago, if someone had asked me to create my ideal job, I would have tried to come up with something involving all of my passions: ice cream, Three's Company reruns, and napping. But since no one will pay me to vegetate on my parents' sofa, eat fudgesicles, and exchange knowing glances with Mr. Roeper (Why is he always looking straight into the camera? Is he trying to tell me that he knows Jack is ...
Inside Legal Blogs First, let me apologize for my absence last week (because I know there are so many of you out there eagerly anticipating my fascinating insights and commentary). Believe it or not, I had my article written and ready to go...and then my computer died, taking last week's Inside Legal Blogs report with it to the grave. I realize this is the attorney's equivalent of "the dog ate my homework," but I swear it's true. And when was the last time you doub ...
Inside Legal Blogs Luckily for this week's edition of ''Inside Legal Blogs,'' there were quite a few interesting discussions this week in the legal ''Blawgosphere.'' There were, for example, some philosophical ones, such as the discussion that raged on Volokh and PrawfsBlawg about ''theophobia,'' or the hostility of academics towards religion. In fact, religion was in the news a lot this week, as was gay marriage, what with wedding bells beginning to ring in Cali ...
Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror With the recent release of the 9/11 Commission's report, we take a look back at the book that caused a great deal of controversy earlier this year by questioning President G.W. Bush's motives for war in Iraq. Is it worth the read?
You guys are great! I will definitely use LawCrossing in the future. Larry G.
LawCrossing Fact #96: We can’t promise you a job, but we can promise to make the job search a whole lot easier!
New Legal Jobs in Last 7 Days
Job of the day
Trusts and Estates Attorney in Los Angeles, CA USA-Los Angeles
Senior Relationship Manager I - Corporate Trust Administrator
Duties: Responsible for onboarding new bond transaction...
job search tip
Try to network face to face, not over the phone. You'll get more buy-in with the personal touch. Ask for just 10 minutes of your contact's time, then stick to it.