Following a stroke at age 42 Jean-Dominique Bauby, editor of Frech Elle magazine, is victim to locked-in syndrome, paralyzed from head to toe. Julian Schnabel deftly directs this bio-pic and together, with Jean-Do, the viewer reconciles the meaning of a life spent wholly, senses engaged.
Mercifully, Bauby has the use of one eye to communicate. With the extreme commitment of Claude, a publisher's assistant taking dictation via eye blinks, Bauby's reflections on being a self realized man not without his flaws are shared. And as much as this film (based on Bauby's novel) captures the longing and frustration of his imprisonment, it is also a celebration of imagination.
Patience is integral to his story as are the beauty and trappings of consciousness. Max Von Syndow, as Bauby's aged father, conveys the visceral misery of a parent who must witness his child's suffering expertly, yet the familiar American recipe of hyper-sentimentalism is forgone. There is comedy, cruelty and incredible humanity within this film. I recommend it.