Argentina:16 / Australia:M / Brazil:12 / Chile:14 / Czech Republic:15 / Finland:K-11 / Germany:12 / Hong Kong:IIB / Ireland:12A / Japan:PG-12 / Netherlands:MG6 / Singapore:NC-16 / Spain:13 / Switzerland:14 (canton of Geneva) / Switzerland:14 (canton of Vaud) / UK:PG / USA:PG-13
Runtime: 125 min
The sea pervades this film from start to finish and along with the clever use of music to delineate certain characters and scenes helps this film captivate an audience from the opening shots of a peaceful ocean.
Although this film is based on the profoundly moving true story of Spaniard Ramon Sampedro (played by Oscar nominee Javier Bardem) who fought a 30-year fight to end his life with dignity there is nothing downbeat or depressing about it. Beautifully shot, it is full of life and energy. It entrances throughout.
Former ship’s mechanic Ramon has been paralysed in bed for thirty years, and is card for on a farm by four members of his family: the older brother Jose (Bugallo), his sister-in-law Manuela (Mabel Rivera), his father, Joaquin and his teenage nephew Jaul.
Scenes around and within the farmhouse are beautifully shot: almost in a sepia coloured light with little or no bright colours.
Mostly this film deals with Ramon’s relationship with those around him, particularly with two women: Julia, a lawyer who supports his cause and Rosa who wants to convince him that life is worth living. As the film progresses, there are no great events taking place, just an unfolding and developing of the way Ramon affects and is affected by others, with some interludes of fantasy, e.g. When we fly with Ramon in his mind back to the sea.
In the end Ramon is enabled to die with dignity and with friends around by one of these two women, but this storyline is not about what happens, it is about the profound effects that people have one each other and it is also a film about the different forms of expressions of love.
This film has been made with the utmost care and devotion in getting Ramon’s story as accurate as possible. It is a life influencing experience, which I strongly recommend.
Cast and Crew
Directed by Alejandro Amenábar
Cast (in credits order)