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Running Time:
2 hours

Rating: PG-13 Parents Strongly Cautioned.

Rating Explanation:
for intense depiction of mature thematic material.

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
A gripping blend of emotional and cerebral filmmaking anchored by Javier Bardem, in one of the year's most impressive performances.

Additional Info:
DVD Features: Deleted scenes; Documentary "A Trip to the Sea Inside"; Director commentary, storyboards, photo and set design galleries; Theatrical trailer.

The Sea Inside
Based on real events, Alejandro Amenabar shows us how a vigorous and adventurous man is rendered virtually helpless and makes a persuasive argument for why that helplessness denies him a dignified existence, dependent as he is on his selflessly devoted family. Javier Bardem is made to look older and incapacitated not only by fine makeup but by the actor's extraordinary ability to inhabit this character. While he snaps at his young nephew for getting his grammar wrong and be impatient with visitors, he still remains a compassionate, loving man. We find him in the care of his sister-in-law, the quite magnificent Mabel Rivera, at the home of his brother Jose (Celso Bugallo), where he has access to a computer, telephone and television that he's able to control with his mouth and a stick. He is petitioning the Spanish government to allow him to commit suicide and has the help of an organization devoted to supporting that right, represented by the vivacious Gene (Clara Segura) and the lawyer she brings to make Ramon's case. The lawyer (Belen Rueda), is an elegantly beautiful woman who has a degenerative disease so Ramon believes her affliction will allow her to represent him more ably.

Also into his life comes a stranger named Rosa (Lola Duenas), who has seen him on television who falls in love with him. But Ramon falls in love with Julia, even though she is married. Together they plan a book of poems that he wrote when he was younger. None of this, however, causes any wavering in his determination to die.

For a film that is bound to move audiences to tears, there are moments of great humor and wonderful sequences when Ramon's imagination allows him to take flight. The film will be taken as a plea for euthanasia, and it is that. But it also makes the case for those left behind and demonstrates that love, not dying, can be the greatest test of all.

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