Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 38
  2. Negative: 0 out of 38
  1. Based on a true story, the movie has abundant humor and uplift - but it's a heartbreaker of extraordinary dimension.
  2. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    A monumentally moving experience, from the powerful acting by Javier Bardem to the evocative music, composed by the director, Alejandro Amenábar.
  3. 100
    The Sea Inside brings us outside and inside ourselves, and takes us to brave new aesthetic depths.
  4. Reviewed by: Kevin Allison
    In the way that water can heal and harm, this film balances moments of dreamy spirituality with the salty harshness of family disputes.
  5. Reviewed by: Ray Bennett
    The result is a film both poetic and profound.
  6. 90
    What makes The Sea Inside such a riveting drama is that none of these relationships is sufficient to make Ramón want to go on living.
  7. Bardem's performance is a marvel of restraint and control, both physical and emotional.
  8. 88
    The Sea Inside is uplifting. This is a movie that may cause viewers to both laugh and cry.
  9. The film is a melancholy but poetic meditation on the fragility of the gift of life.
  10. 80
    Rare is the motion picture which grapples with issues this provocative and profound. Rarer still is one which does so this well.
  11. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    The more intimate scenes are almost unbearably poignant.
  12. Operates as stealth art: stately, moving, beautifully acted, and urgently subversive to our own status quo.
  13. Reviewed by: Melissa Levine
    A flawed film worth seeing.
  14. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    As for Bardem: How can I do him justice? He is normally the most robustly physical of actors, with a plummy voice and an insolent sensuality. To see him immobile, ashen, his hair gone, de-bodyized: It's agonizing.
  15. Has its share of contrivances, some more successful than others, but center stage is occupied by truth, and austere beauty.
  16. A film about freedom as well as death, this won't suit every taste, but it rewards close attention and has moments of saving humor.
  17. 75
    The film, quite rightly, is a tour de force for Bardem.
  18. 75
    This is simply the story of one man. Yes, and on those terms I accept it, and was moved by the humanity and logic of the character.
  19. Wrings honest emotion and riveting dramatics from its tale.
  20. 75
    Fortunately, Bardem, who earned an Oscar nomination for his role in Julian Schnabel's "Before Night Falls," makes up for the script's shortcomings.
  21. For the most part, the film stays steady-on, celebrating one man's crusade - and one family's heartbreak.
  22. It's moving, romantic, dreamlike, flawlessly acted and so engaging as to make you forget about euthanasia before it jolts you back into recognition.
  23. Reviewed by: Leah McLaren
    This movie might make you cry, but it is not explicitly designed to do so.
  24. The classy production, with its aesthetic graces, is especially convincing about the charisma of the man, a performance specialty of the great Bardem.
  25. Reviewed by: Ethan Alter
    The result isn't an easy film, but it is rewarding.
  26. 70
    There's a combination of fatalism and hard-edged humor at work in The Sea Inside that you can imagine Irish writers would feel right at home with.
  27. 70
    Unfortunately, Bardem is confined by more than Ramón's paralysis. He also must work within the limits of a partially numbed script.
  28. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    It's a testament to his (Amenabar's) cinematic flair that he has taken as daunting a subject as euthanasia and turned it into a crowd-pleasing movie. It's also an indication of what feels wrong here. I can't deny that I was moved, but it all goes down a bit TOO easy.
  29. Understandably, a filmmaker tackling the retelling of a national hero must do so with great delicacy, but The Sea Inside presents not so much a hero as a saint in Sampredo.
  30. 67
    If the movie is largely familiar, its passion and craft are noteworthy.
  31. 63
    Bardem gives such a brilliant performance in The Sea Inside, it's a crime that the film itself drowns in tears.
  32. Reviewed by: Nelson Pressley
    Placid and rather attractive on the surface, with depths you can sense but which are never fully plumbed.
  33. 50
    You want the movie to stir your soul, push your intellect, or at the very least, break your heart. But it's such a repetitive and thinly constructed piece of filmmaking that the scope and complexity of Sampedro's case are turned to porridge.
  34. 50
    When pinned mostly in the man's bedroom, Amenábar's flashier instincts are stifled by a bolted camera and a procession of issue-of-the-week clichés.
  35. The film fails to convey the claustrophobic terror experienced by a man who called his book "Letters From Hell."
  36. I remained strangely dry-eyed up to the final shot.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 60 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 31
  2. Negative: 1 out of 31
  1. LizB.
    Jun 9, 2007
    Brilliant and subtle; so many layers of meaning for multiple watchings; profound.
  2. Barna
    Dec 25, 2005
    A very moving story, perfectly crafted from all angles.
  3. Apr 5, 2012
    Touching, powerful, intense....Amenabar does it again! This is not just a movie about solitude, it is also a movie about courage, integrityTouching, powerful, intense....Amenabar does it again! This is not just a movie about solitude, it is also a movie about courage, integrity and friendhsip. I am fluent in both languages (English and Spanish). It is great in both...better in teh original of course...the subtitles are never the same, but its beauty trascends the barrier of the language, anyway! Full Review »