Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 56, Issue 4, pp 463–465 | Cite as

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: A Film Review

  • L. R. RamboEmail author

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Pathé Renn Productions, France; producers, K. Kennedy and J. Kilik; director, J. Schnabel 2007) invites us—perhaps throws us is more apt—into a world none of us ever want to experience: in total paralysis, but with a mind that is alert, active, and at first baffled by its predicament. The film begins with blurred images, glimpses of light, faint voices, and a confusing mixture of sights and sounds. The point of view is stationary, except for eye movements. We gradually learn that we are seeing a hospital room, nurses, doctors, and orderlies. These people move closer to the person through whose eyes we are seeing. They address him as Jean-Dominique Bauby and inform him that he has experienced a catastrophic stoke and has been in a coma for three weeks.

Jean-Dominique (brilliantly portrayed by Mathieu Amalric) gradually becomes aware that he cannot speak. We hear his thoughts through voiceover, but he realizes that no one else can hear him. A doctor...


Happy Ending Film Festival American Artist Free Spirit Total Paralysis 
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  1. Bauby, J. D. (1998). The diving bell and the butterfly: A memoir of life in death. Trans J Leggatt. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  2. Interview with Julian Schnabel, Director of The diving bell and the butterfly by National Public Radio. (2007, November 30). Retrieved February 18, 2008, from
  3. Kennedy, K. & Kilik, J. (Producers) & Schnabel, J. (Director). (2007). The diving bell and the butterfly [Motion picture]. France: Pathé Renn Productions.Google Scholar
  4. The diving bell and the butterfly website. (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2008, from

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.San Francisco Theological SeminarySan AnselmoUSA

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