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Sea Inside
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The Sea Inside

4.8 6
Director: Alejandro Amenábar

Cast: Javier Bardem, Belén Rueda, Lola Dueñas


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Two of the most talented figures in contemporary Spanish cinema -- actor Javier Bardem and director Alejandro Amenábar -- collaborate for this powerful drama, based on a true story. Ramón Sampedro (Javier Bardem) was a fisherman and part-time poet who, at the age of 26, suffered an accident while diving that left him a bedridden quadriplegic. Now 54, Ramón must depend


Two of the most talented figures in contemporary Spanish cinema -- actor Javier Bardem and director Alejandro Amenábar -- collaborate for this powerful drama, based on a true story. Ramón Sampedro (Javier Bardem) was a fisherman and part-time poet who, at the age of 26, suffered an accident while diving that left him a bedridden quadriplegic. Now 54, Ramón must depend on his family to survive -- his macho brother José (Celso Bugallo), José's wife, Manuela (Mabel Rivera), and their son, Javi (Tamar Novas). While grateful to his family and friends for their help, Ramón was always an active person, and as the years wore on, he has come to see his life as frustrating and pointless and wishes to die with what remains of his dignity. José, however, is bitterly opposed to the notion of assisted suicide, and Spanish laws would implicate anyone who helped Ramón end his own life, which is something Ramón does not want to do. Through Gené (Carla Segura), a friend who works with a "Right to Die" organization, Ramón is introduced to Julia (Belen Rueda), a lawyer he hopes will help him persuade the courts to let him end his own life. Julia is dealing with her own mortality issues since being diagnosed with a degenerative disease, and Ramón hopes her condition will make her arguments more persuasive. As Ramón and Julia work together on his case and help to prepare a book of his poems for publication, Ramón finds himself falling in love with his attorney, who happens to be married, but while his infatuation gives Julia second thoughts about the case, Ramón remains convinced that the greatest gift to him would be an end to his life. Javier Bardem's performance in The Sea Inside (aka Mar Adentro) earned him the Best Actor award at the 2004 Venice Film Festival.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
One of 2004's most profoundly moving films, The Sea Inside recounts the heartrending story of a Spanish quadriplegic who, after spending 26 years in bed, insists that he has a right to die. Paralyzed from the neck down in a diving accident as a young man, Ramon Sampedro (Javier Bardem) has the support of a devoted family and the ability to write by holding a pen in his mouth. He enjoys music, listens to the radio, watches TV, and imagines himself flying away on beautiful days. He is loved by a local girl, Rosa (Lola Duenas), and by his lawyer, Julia (Belen Rueda), herself the victim of a degenerative disease. Although he puts up a brave front, Ramon believes his condition affords him no dignity and wants only to die. This is an intensely dramatic film; even the most hard-hearted viewer will be affected by Ramon's predicament and the icy-cold reasoning he brings to seeking the ultimate escape. The always-exemplary Bardem operates at the peak of his ability, investing the character with great warmth and limitless charm while expertly (and often subtly) depicting the pain and frustration he experiences on a daily basis. Both sides of the euthanasia issue are presented; the right-to-die lawyer Julia supports Sampedro's decision, while the villager Rosa and the local priest disagree sharply. Director Alejandro Amenabar does not resort to florid melodrama to tell his story; his narrative choices -- including camera placements, lighting, and the staging of scenes -- are never flamboyant. He doesn't impose emotions through direction but rather encourages the actors to release them, naturally, from the essence of their characters. The result is a uniquely compelling, even haunting, motion picture.
All Movie Guide
Leagues beyond a disease-of-the-week movie, and a total departure for its director, The Sea Inside is a potent emotional journey anchored by powerhouse performances. It turns out that Alejandro Amenábar, known for gothic horror (The Others) and existentialism (Abre los Ojos), can do lyrical intimacy with equal finesse. Amenábar's technique is partly responsible for bringing Ramon Sampedro to life; his camera explores the rolling landscape of Sampedro's mind, as well as the photographs of his bedroom, which show the rich exuberance of Ramon's youth. But The Sea Inside wouldn't be half the experience without the work of Javier Bardem. He's such a charismatic figure, so quick to flirt or joke, that he can seduce even from his state of permanent recline, and at times, the 2004 Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film is equally satisfying as a wistful romance. Ramon's very quickness of wit provides the film with a central conundrum: how can a person who seems so harmonious with his world want to end his life? The Spanish countryside provides an idyllic backdrop for such weighty philosophical debate, deceptively appropriate in the way it accentuates the fragile beauty of life -- especially as captured through Javier Aguirresarobe's cinematography. Amenábar's script is also keenly attuned to life's absurdities. A memorable argument transpires between Ramon, stubbornly confined to his bed, and a paralyzed priest, down two floors because his wheelchair couldn't be carried any higher into the house. A messenger runs between the two, exchanging barbs, but their polarized views lie a much greater distance apart. Ramon's sardonic outlook on religious salvation cannot be shaken, and Bardem's performance convinces the audience there's no reason it should be. The range of perspectives of those who care about him lends the film additional poignancy, never crossing over into maudlin sentiment.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
New Line Home Video
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Javier Bardem Ramón Sampedro
Belén Rueda Julia
Lola Dueñas Rosa
Mabel Rivera Manuela
Celso Bugallo Jose
Clara Segura Gene
Joan Dalmau Joaquin
Alberto Jiménez German
Tamar Novas Javi
Francesc Garrido Marc
Josep Maria Pou Father Francisco
Alberto Amarilla Father Andres
Andrea Occhipinti Santiago
Federico Perez Rey Driver
Nicolas Fernandez Luna Cristian
Raul Lavisier Samuel
Xose Manuel "Pico" Olveira Judge 1
Cesar Cambeiro Judge 2
Xose Manuel Esperante Journalist 1
Yolanda Muinos Journalist 2
Adolfo Obregon Executive
José Luis Rodriguez Presentor
Julio Jordan Book Binder
Juan Manuel Vidal Ramon's Friend
Marta Larralde Girl at the Beach

Technical Credits
Alejandro Amenábar Director,Score Composer,Editor,Producer,Screenwriter
Javier Aguirresarobe Cinematographer
Jo Allen Makeup
Fernando Bovaira Producer
Benjamin Fernandez Production Designer
Manuel Garcia Makeup
Mateo Gil Screenwriter
Luis San Narciso Casting
Ricardo Steinberg Sound/Sound Designer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Imagine [4:46]
2. "Why Choose Death?" [7:25]
3. "Negra Sombra" [7:00]
4. Identifying With Ramon [2:13]
5. Reflections [8:18]
6. Taking Flight [7:58]
7. Julia Falls Ill [10:00]
8. Heart to Heart With Rosa [13:22]
9. Banter With Padre Francisco [3:52]
10. Surprise Visitor [6:12]
11. Preparing for Court [8:59]
12. Justice? [9:40]
13. The Package [6:24]
14. Off to Boiro [6:38]
15. Dignity Found [8:03]
16. Out to Sea [7:12]


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4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A compelling movie and performance by Javier Bardem of the story of Ramon Sampedro. I show it to my upper level Spanish students and it never fails to move them. Beautifully written and carried out to tell us the story of Sampedro. Highly recommended! This movie will move you!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A real life testimony of a paraplejic person that shows us all the rollcoaster of emotions, his struggles, and his wonderfuls feelings about what life means to him in such a state.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great film because of the raw emotion it transmits to its audience. What makes it even more worth watching is that it's based on the life of Ramon Sampedro and his struggle for a life (or death) with dignity. I have since then read Ramon Sampedro's book and am in complete awe of this beautiful emotive human being. I highly recommend this film for anyone who enjoys controversy and beauty in human struggle.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was very moving with fabulous performances by each actor. Well worth your time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the finest films in recent years. Bardem's is one of the greatest of all time - period. Don't let the subject matter keep you away. This movie is deeply moving yet uplifting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago