Saw The Sea Inside today – Binny told me about a screening at the Ernakulam Public Library by the Cochin Film Society and I went to see it. Found it to be a really good experience, so here’s a mini review of the movie.
The movie is about euthanasia and how a quadriplegic man fights to make it legal for a person unable to kill himself to be helped to die. That sentence makes the film sound very dry, but it’s anything but. The man himself (Javier Bardem playing Ramón Sampedro) is astoundingly well cast, and his expressions make up for his lack of gestures, animation and movement. He’s very well taken care of by his brother’s family and it’s evident that they love him and that that love is returned. In spite of being bedridden, Ramón is active in his own way – writing poems, being visited by his friends and actively arguing his case in the court. His scenes with his lawyer and with Rosa (a local RJ who takes a fancy to him) makes for a very interesting watch – especially the one in which his lawyer asks him if he’s been kissed by a girl for the past 28 years. His pat reply (“Why, are you going to give me a demonstration?”) sets the tone for the movie.
Why this man who’s very special in his own way – who has people loving him and willing to take care of him – wants to die is what the story revolves around in the end. It is about the helplessness of a permanently bedridden man, but that theme is so subtly woven into the fabric of the story that other things take prominence. Even at the very end, the vibrant cinematography contrasts with the dreary end so that even while we feel sad, we somehow feel joyous. And I thought the end was very fitting, sad and poignant.