Film Review - The Diving
Bell and the Butterfly
Last year I went to the
cinema to watch a film which is quite rare for me as I usually wait
until they are released on DVD before I watch them, but this was a very
special film for me. It is a French film called ‘The Diving
Bell and the Butterfly’. It is a true story written by a man
using his eye to spell out every letter of every word to write about
his world. One of his speech therapists would recite the alphabet to
him and he would blink when the correct letter of the alphabet has been
said. He would make up words by going through this laborious process.
He has a type of brain
damage called Locked-in Syndrome. I have first hand experience of this
process of communication because I too have Locked-in Syndrome. I had
heard of the original book and one of my friends kindly read it to me
before I saw the film. It is a very emotional film; I have never been
affected by a film in the same way. It felt very strange sitting in the
cinema whilst watching it because so much of the things he experienced
were similar to my life. It was really useful to me because it
forewarned me of future situations which will happen and will be
awkward due to my locked-in state. It is important to remember it is
dramatised for film and is set in the past and not totally accurate.
Some of the medical people who came to see it with me at the cinema
didn’t think some of the medical procedures were accurate.
But it would be very useful for some of my carers to take note of how
It is a difficult film
for me to watch as it is in French with English subtitles. Since my
bicycle accident I have had double vision as well as Locked-in
Syndrome. I have glasses which help a bit but I will never have perfect
vision again. Luckily there’s a version of the film dubbed
over by the original actors in English.
The Diving Bell and the
Butterfly is an award winning film which won the award for the best
adapted screenplay at the BAFTAs, the best director at the Golden
Globes and the best director at the Cannes film Your browser may not
support display of this image.festival in France.
Everybody should see
this film but be aware anybody can get Locked-in Syndrome for a number
of different reasons. I for example did not get Locked-in Syndrome the
same way as Jean Dominique Baubey the author of the Diving Bell and the
Butterfly. I urge you to watch the film, it is available on DVD.