The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 179 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 12 out of 179

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User Reviews

  1. DB
    Feb 24, 2008
    3
    I often indulge in films that could be considered more artistic and independent, so I never thought I'd use the tern "art-house" in a negative manner. But, well, here goes: This film is a poorly made, utterly pretentious, art-house bore. While good cinematography and decent performances save it from being unbearable, Julian Schnabel (an Academy Award nominee and an Independent Spirit I often indulge in films that could be considered more artistic and independent, so I never thought I'd use the tern "art-house" in a negative manner. But, well, here goes: This film is a poorly made, utterly pretentious, art-house bore. While good cinematography and decent performances save it from being unbearable, Julian Schnabel (an Academy Award nominee and an Independent Spirit Award winner for directing this film) has NO idea how to construct a compelling narrative or create emotional attachment to characters. He's a painter, for god sake, exactly when did he earn the qualifications to tell us a feature-length story? In a flaw exhibited in earlier films of his such as "Before Night Falls," Schnabel presents us a chronological blow by blow of an over-sentimentalized story without any eye for pace or beginning, middle and end. This creates a complete disconnect between us and the characters we are supposed to be empathizing with, and also creates a repetitive narrative structure that, in plain English, bores the living hell out of anyone who isn't just trying to like the movie cause it got a 92 on metacritic. See it, and then test out your acting skills as you try to find ways to agree with the embarrassingly enthusiastic reviews. Expand
  2. MelN.
    Apr 4, 2008
    3
    While many men might like to imagine that should they find themselves "locked in" they would be able to command a troupe of beautiful women who would devote their lives to selflessy caring for them and crying over them, the scenario doesn't come across as realistic. It comes across as sentimental, sexist drivel. I haven't read the book but would be surprised if the scene where While many men might like to imagine that should they find themselves "locked in" they would be able to command a troupe of beautiful women who would devote their lives to selflessy caring for them and crying over them, the scenario doesn't come across as realistic. It comes across as sentimental, sexist drivel. I haven't read the book but would be surprised if the scene where the wife "translates" his message for the lover without a word of complaint (but lots of silent tears) actually took place. Collapse
  3. Aug 9, 2015
    2
    I agree with the other negative reviews (of which there are far too few).....this is a very mediocre film about a very unusual tragedy that happened to a rather dull and very successful bourgeois who edits a slick fashion magazine......yes- he was very determined to fight back against his cruel illness....but where is the drama or the interest beyond this point ?......the film runs outI agree with the other negative reviews (of which there are far too few).....this is a very mediocre film about a very unusual tragedy that happened to a rather dull and very successful bourgeois who edits a slick fashion magazine......yes- he was very determined to fight back against his cruel illness....but where is the drama or the interest beyond this point ?......the film runs out of steam very early and director Schnabel really has no idea of what to do with the material.....also Dumas' "The Count of Monte Cristo" isn't really a jaw-dropping masterpiece as Bauby and the film and implies. Martin Pistorius had a similar condition and wrote a far more interesting book about it called "Ghost Boy". Expand
  4. AnonymousMC
    Jan 13, 2008
    0
    letter by letter is tedious beyond reason...instead of walking out, of the theatre
    I sat there working out faster ways to communicate.
    The reviewers that drew me into seeing this most boring movie of the year must themselves be locked
    into the syndrome.
    in that situation...we do have the game 20 questions (animal, mineral , vegetable .)
Metascore
92

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. The film is a masterpiece in which “locked-in” syndrome becomes the human condition.
  2. 100
    Schnabel’s movie, based on the calm and exquisite little book that Bauby wrote in the hospital, is a gloriously unlocked experience, with some of the freest and most creative uses of the camera and some of the most daring, cruel, and heartbreaking emotional explorations that have appeared in recent movies.
  3. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    80
    Most compelling in its attempts to re-create the experience of paralysis onscreen, gorgeously lensed pic morphs into a dreamlike collage of memories and fantasies, distancing the viewer somewhat from Bauby's consciousness even as it seeks to take one deeper.