The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

This BAFTA and Golden Globe winning drama is the true story of Elle magazine editor Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric), who, in 1995 at the age of 43, suffered a stroke that paralyzed his entire body, except his left eye. Using that eye to blink out his memoir, Bauby eloquently described the aspects of his interior world, from the psychological torment of being trapped inside his body to his imagined stories from lands he'd only visited in his mind.

Best Director, Best Foreign Film winner at the Golden Globes 2008. Best Adapted Screenplay at the BAFTAs 2008.
2008Rating: M112 minsFranceFrench
DramaTrue Story & Biography

Streaming (3 Providers)

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly / Reviews

Flicks, Team

Flicks, Team

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a visually stunning film, delivering the tragic story of Jean-Dominique ‘Jean-Do’ Bauby. Mid-career, as editor of Elle magazine, Jean-Do suffers a severe stroke and winds up with ‘locked-in syndrome’, completely paralysed physically (with the exception of his left eyelid) but completely functioning mentally. (The film is based on Jean-Do’s memoirs, written whilst in this paralysed state. Painstakingly, a transcriber would list the letters of the alphabet in order of frequency until Jean-Do blinked for the letter he wanted.)

Full review
Variety

Variety

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.

Full review
New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

A bracingly unsentimental adaptation of a memoir of a paralysed man is the most dynamic film in years.

Full review
Newshub

Newshub

Being such a fan of the book, I just couldn't see cinematic justice being done. But I needn't have worried. The emotional intensity of this true story is not lost in translation, and while I still really recommend reading the book as well, don't let this film pass you by.

Full review
Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times

Simultaneously uplifting and melancholy, suffused with an unexpected sense of possibility as much as the inevitable sense of loss.

Full review
Film Threat

Film Threat

Schnabel's film is so steeped in the visual that it is surely the purest of cinema.

Full review
Empire Magazine

Empire Magazine

A poignant reflection on what it means to be alive and, visually, a true cinematic experience.

Full review
Christchurch Press

Christchurch Press

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le Scaphandre et le Papillon) is a stunning achievement. The American-French film-makers have made a remarkable film from a well-loved book that at first glance would seem unfilmable.

Full review