Film Hick: The Sea Inside (2004)
Directed by: Alejandro Amenábar. Cast: Javier Bardem, Belén Rueda, Lola Dueñas. Rated: PG-13. Running Time: 125 minutes.
This was an emotionally involving film which fully engaged me as a viewer. It dealt with a delicate subject in a way that neither sensationalised or belittled any viewpoint concerning the matter in hand: the right to die with dignity (to be euthanised). I hope it makes sense when I say that the part of Ramon Sampedro was played so well by Javier Bardem that you can overcome the fact it is based on a true story and embrace it on a more visceral and less cerebral level, on a more human level. If Bardem were not so convincing one might be drawn to wonder, at the points where the film departs from the literal and embraces the metaphorical, about the reality of the situation.
I have to admit that I have had an urge of late to pull away from any film that has the label Oscar worthy because it has somewhat negative connotations for me — to be Oscar worthy a film must tick certain boxes and, it is not that I particularly loathe films which qualify for these reasons, but one sometimes one wants to watch a film without the sense that the actor probably already has their acceptance speech written. This film did win lots of awards but considerations such as that will fall away as you become immersed in the tale, and with such a likeable lead it would be hard not to.
This isn’t a film where you have to worry about how its going to end; it is very much about the journey. It is not really a film about death either – maybe a funny thing to say given the subject under discussion – on the contrary it is very full of life and left a very positive feeling when the credits rolled. The cinematography is beautiful, the acting is wonderful (a great cast), and despite accusations I have read from certain quarters I did not find it overly manipulative (given that it is storytelling, and like all stories has a need to do just that). Definitely a film to watch whilst in a certain mood but do not be worried by what it’s about, it is by no means maudlin or depressing, and is in many respects enlightening and cathartic.