For near on thirty years, Ramón Sampedro (Javier Bardem) has fought to win the right to end his own life with dignity after an accident at the beach left him completely paralysed. Julia (Belén Rueda) is the lawyer who offers to support his cause free of charge. She has a devastating degenerative disease, and it seems that Ramón’s case has struck a very close cord with her. Rosa (Lola Dueñas) is a local woman who hears of Ramón’s story and wants to convince him that life if worth living. Despite his wish to die, Ramón teaches everyone he encounters the meaning, value and preciousness of life.
The Sea Inside is without a doubt the most powerful film I have ever watched. For someone who doesn’t cry at films, the tears I had in my eyes as I watched were very unexpected, especially as I was having to read every word that was spoken as I’m not a fluent Spanish conversationalist. I honestly don’t remember ever watching something as affecting as this.
Javier Bardem was one of my favourite actors before seeing this, and I was in no doubt of his ability as an actor. However, he blew me away in The Sea Inside. I genuinely don’t think I have the words to describe his performance in this. I know this sounds so stupid but I am so grateful for watching No Country For Old Men as that is the only reason that I got round to watching this. He put on such a moving performance as Ramón that you could feel the weight of the man’s soul and the essence of everything he was fighting for, and everyone he was fighting for, in every word that came out of his mouth. As I’m writing this, I can honestly tell you that Bardem’s performance is hitting me as hard now, five hours after finishing the film, as it did when I was actually watching it for the first time, if not harder. I am really sorry that I just cannot find the words to do justice his performance, but it really was just… Wow…
Rueda’s performance as Julia, the lawyer so dedicated to the case was also truly amazing. Julia was a sufferer of CADISIL, a disease I’ve learnt from the film causes strokes and that eventually gets so bad that, whilst the person might still physically be right there in front of you, who they were may be completely lost. Whilst the film may have primarily been about Ramón’s struggle, it also closely followed his relationships with Julia and another woman, therefore both actresses performances were equally as important. The nice thing for me was that, because The Sea Inside is a foreign film, I didn’t know either of the actresses, therefore I saw them as the people they represented, not as a famous person pretending to be said people. Both Rueda’s and Dueñas’ performances were sublime and the emotions they showed made the film all the more hard-hitting.
I think the most powerful aspect of The Sea Inside is the dialogue. Just the words that are used could stir up so many feelings even if you were only reading them on paper, let alone of you’ve an actor such as Bardem as the one saying them. One line he said that will stay with me forever was, ‘When you can’t escape, and you constantly rely on everyone else, you learn to cry by smiling.’ However, probably one of the hardest hitting lines in the entire film was spoken by Bardem’s senile, on-screen father, ‘There’s only one thing worse than having your son die on you… Him wanting to.’
So, I urge you to see this film. It will probably be one of the most powerful films you ever see, and, noted, it is in Spanish, but The Sea Inside is a very worthwhile way to sown two hours of your time. It is a film that you will never forget, and considering how long it will take you to watch it, I strongly believe that is a very worthy way to spend such a short length of time.