"I understood him logically, but because the filmmaking was largely boring, it killed the sympathy I should've had for him."
"I'm having a problem finding someone or something to root for or against. "
"In what had to be a very demanding role to take on, Bardem was pretty much flawless."
The battle of a quadriplegic trying to win his right to die, holding the view that life is a right and not an obligation, is a difficult journey to present. This is the kind of situation that often makes us examine our own thoughts on such a subject. What would I do if it was me? What would I do and say if it was somebody I loved? One of the major things I liked about this movie is that it was about the person, Ramon Sampedro, more than the topic of euthanasia. It didn't try to aggressively sway us in either direction, but maintained a focus on who he was, what he thought, and how he responded to those around him with different opinions on his life and choice to die.
The focus on Ramon's conversations, fantasies and flashbacks really kept us tuned into his story and why he has made his decision. The scenes of him flying out the window and over the landscape are beautifully shot. They mean so much to the character, especially the time when he doesn't get out the window and we see the land as if we're trapped, as is his reality. My other favorite scene was when the quadriplegic priest came to visit and they argued their positions via the boy running up and down the stairs, and by shouting toward each other. Arguing over rhetoric with rhetoric and Manuela having the final word as the priest leaves.
I thought all the relationships were portrayed well and provided a balance throughout the film. Ramon's father having few lines, but standing out when he confesses that 'there's only one thing worse than the death of a son... that he wants to die." His brother is the most outspoken against Ramon's wishes, conflicting with his wife who's taken up the day to day care for Ramon and seems to have come to accept that it's Ramon's choice to make. Her speaking out to the priest was a big moment. Javier, his nephew, doesn't quite understand everything... even when Ramon spells it out in a poem dedicated to him. He's the son he never had, but definitely loved as one. Then there are the two women in his life, Julia and Rosa. One coming to represent him and help him die while other shows up to convince him to live. The conversations, the cigarettes, the kiss, and the overall dynamics were vital to Ramon and well written and acted. We see each of them change their positions and Rosa giving her friend, who she loves, what he's long awaited even though he doesn't seem to reciprocate the same feelings. All of these people played such important roles to Ramon and showed us all both sides of his battle. It turns out that years after Ramon's death the real Rosa (Ramona) openly spoke about it, confessing her part since the statute of limitations had run out for their supposed crimes.
The acting was good overall and superb for Bardem. He received all sorts of accolades for his performance and they were all deserved. The way he delivers his lines are convincing and real. His facial expressions are on point, showing Ramon's wide range of emotion throughout his journey. In what had to be a very demanding role to take on, Bardem was pretty much flawless. At first, Lola Dueñas sort of bothered me as Rosa, but that's just who her character was. She grew on me, just as she did with Ramon. I was pleased with the cast overall, not knowing any of the others, they all fit and played their parts well.
The Sea Inside notches an A grade from me. I walked away from it with a lot on my mind, a handful of laughs, and an eye lined with a tear or two. Bardem's performance, the story, and the scenes that stood out for me made this a great movie experience for me. I hope you all were able to suffer through the subtitles enough to enjoy it, as well!