The issues underpinning this film are ones which provoke the strongest of opinions, with very few being able to occupy a grey middle-ground. Who has the right to decide when a life should end, when the holder of that life wants his to stop, but needs help to achieve that end?
This film is no dreary discourse on the ethics of euthanasia. Nor is it a life-affirming piece filled with cod philosophy and hope. What it is is a masterfully-acted sweep of underplayed emotion and artistic film-making which simply captivates. The acting is superb. There are characters here who make you weep - not through overplaying the emotionally-charged subject matter, but by quietly shouldering the events that life has thrown at them, dealing with them, and simply making the best of them. Optimism and despair are threaded through every minute of this film.
The film itself is breathtaking. There are long shots of the landscape and the sea; these, set against the tightly-framed shots set inside the quadriplegic Ramon's room, eloquently speak of his captive physical life while his mind is flying free. Amazing.