Guided by director Julian Schnabel’s creative vision, the film is positively spellbinding, from the unsettling beginning to the last scene. I cannot imagine a better way of cinematically conveying what it is like to suffer from locked-in syndrome than the one the filmmakers employ here; it is very effective. The balance between mainstream and art-house feel is nearly perfect. Intellectually and emotionally powerful, brilliantly acted, visually poetic, and life-affirming, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a celebration of human consciousness, a reminder to live life to the fullest, and a unique movie experience.
(Original title: Le scaphandre et le papillon.)