If you’re looking for a thought-provoking, uplifting, raw and gorgeous film, you’ve found it in The Sea Inside Directed by the widely acclaimed Alejandro Amenábar, it won an Academy Award in 2004 for Best Foreign Language Film and collected the 2004 Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film, among other awards. But don’t let this make the decision for you. It’s one of those rare pieces of art that come along every few decades, and this film transfixes everyone who experiences it, working true magic in hearts, minds, and souls. Based on a true story, it’s about love, suffering, life, death, and serious sociocultural controversy. This film is so incredible that if you want a clear description of its power, you’ll simply have to experience it. Even if you’ve never met a film that could make you cry, you’ll need a box of tissues. Until then, the following is an attempt to convey the basic progression of the film sans spoilers, and you can view the trailer below.
Meet Ramon Sampedro
The Sea Inside tells the true story of Ramon Sampedro (Javier Bardem), a Spaniard who struggles with paralysis from the neck down as a result of a tragic diving incident. He let go of his lover after the accident, urging her to move on with her life, and resolved to fight the legal battle of ending his own life with dignity. Throughout the film, you’ll experience the joy Ramon brings to his family and friends, his sharp wit and innovation, and his unique personality and deep emotions, all hanging in the balance against his insurmountable suffering. It’s impossible to judge what you would do in Ramon’s place, but it’s both devastating and uplifting to watch him make his personal decisions, figure out what triumph is, and give everything to achieve it. In Sampedro, you’ll find a complex character who truly embodies the impossible issue of euthanasia: the potential to preserve a dynamic and incredible life pitted against the opportunity to end unimaginable suffering. You’ll laugh, cry, challenge yourself, appreciate the simplicity of your life, and make your own decisions about euthanasia by the time you’ve finished experiencing this film.
Sampedro’s Letters from Hell [Cartas desde el infierno]
This is a film that stays with you, and if you’d like to learn more about the actual Sampedro, you can read his selected writings in Letters from Hell. It’s a haunting book that speaks of how true love navigates suffering, how much pain the soul can experience before imploding, how beautiful the world looks to someone who can’t live in it, and how blind judgment can be. Reading these letters, you’ll discover how well Amenábar captured the real story of Ramon Sampedro and learn that there’s no way to judge another human being’s suffering. The book is written in Spanish, but its sentiments are best conveyed in that language and are somewhat clumsy in most English translations. Your New Favorite Soundtrack For those of you who are music lovers, you’ll be simply enchanted by the soundtrack from The Sea Inside. The single most powerful scene in the film is ingeniously set to Luciano Pavarotti singing Nessun Dorma, the famous tenor aria from Puccini’s Turandot. This is a scene you’ll watch several times over just to absorb the power of Ramon Sampedro’s situation perfectly expressed in music and images. The rest of the soundtrack is stunning, but can’t compare to this scene. In addition to classical music, you’ll find contemporary instrumental pieces, haunting Spanish songs, and upbeat world music. There’s something for everyone, and the quality is incredibly high. Everything about this film is sensory magic, so enjoy the journey and keep your mind open as you get to know Ramon Sampedro.
Guest writer bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education and performs research surrounding online degrees. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.