The Diving Bell and the Butterfly tells the true story of a Jean Dominique Bauby, the debonair editor of French Elle, who suffered locked in syndrome following a devastating stroke. After the stroke he can only communicate by blinking his eye.
Everything about this as a premise for a film sounds terrible - he does not move, so what is filmic about it; he does not communicate verbally, so where is the dialogue or the relationships; he reflects on his life and his mortality, but how do you show that?
Do not be put off. The film is beautifully made, turning faces into landscapes and using careful palettes of colour to distinguish pre and post stroke scenes. The film shows how Jean-Do becomes a cypher for those around him, providing meaning to their lives, even though inside he is intrinsically himself. In the end, the film is about the meaning of this man's life and all our lives, clear-eyed and fearless.
It is moving without being sentimental or mawkish, insightful, funny, beautiful and intelligent. An absolute must see.