'The Sea Inside' explores issues of life and death
There's this guy, rather a handsome guy. He's funny, charming, intelligent, creative, sensitive. What's wrong with this lead character in the film, "The Sea Inside"? If being a quadriplegic is "wrong," he's been wrong for 27 years. Is lobbying, legally and otherwise, to end one's life after 27 years of such imprisonment "wrong"? This is the controversy in a film based on a true story and now the Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film of 2004.
Some people would say assisted suicide is very wrong - no discussion. Such people would distance themselves from the thoughtful consideration and emotional balance "The Sea Inside" gives to a subject as near to all of us as death's certainty and as far from our comprehension as decades of life-numbing trial. Some people might view the affecting soul of Ram Sampedro's predicament - portrayed elegantly by Javier Bardem - as confirmation that every life is meant to run its course.
Life's course, in this purposefully mild drama, includes a few beautifully photographed flights of fancy that lift the film out of the quadriplegic's bed. It includes glimpses of family members and others who have rerouted their lives to make this paralyzed life possible.
Quoth Socrates: "The unexamined life is not worth living." To the extent that movies can play a part, "The Sea Inside" is worth a life-and-death look.