2004 Top 10 - #5

December 26, 2004
A thought by James Berardinelli

#5: Sea Inside, The : The most mature and emotionally wrenching film to-date from Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar (Open Your Eyes, The Others), The Sea Inside represents a cathartic and satisfying experience. Based on a true story, this film chronicles the last years in the life of Ramon Sampedro, a Spaniard who has been a quadraplegic for nearly three decades and is seeking court permission to end his "life without dignity." The Sea Inside does not ask you to take Ramon's position, but to understand it, and the circumstances that have brought him to this point. It poses two key questions: (1) Does a person have the right to control his own body where death is concerned? and (2) Does it require greater love to help someone like Ramon take his own life, or to give him unconditional support for as long as he lives? For a movie about euthenasia, The Sea Inside has moments that are surprisingly uplifting. While watching this film, it is possible to laugh one moment and cry the next. Someone I know called The Sea Inside one of the best pictures he has seen in the last five years. That may be hyperbole, but I understand where he's coming from. The Sea Inside is certainly one of the best of 2004.