Movie: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

I just finished watching this movie as a part of my attempt to stay involved in something Speech Therapy related this summer.  I’ve got a whole reading and movie list to go through so this is the first of many.

As a Communication Sciences and Disorders student, I’ve seen several people speak about their recovery from a CVA or TBI and there’s always this element of feeling “locked in.”  It is a common theme for people who develop communication disorders to feel frustrated and misunderstood due to their inability to communicate even their basic needs.  This film is about Elle Editor Jean-Dominique Bauby and his 1995 stroke that rendered him comatose for 20 days and eventually led to a “locked in” state.  His mind and imagination were fully functional, yet he could only physically control his left  eyelid and a few facial muscles.  Though he eventually died of pneumonia, he managed to write a book dictated entirely from blinking his left eye.  His original book (translated to English, of course) is definitely added to my summer reading list!

This movie really stresses the importance of communication and having patience with people who have communication disorders.  The film is beautifully directed by Julian Schnabel, who won several awards at Cannes as well as the Academy Awards in 2008.  Schnabel’s depiction of Bauby’s inability to communicate is eye opening.  Throughout the film, Bauby’s voice over is present and it expresses all of the things that he wants to say but can’t.  It really makes the viewer think about how much we take communication for granted.  Seeing the emotional bond between Jean-Dominique and the people that help him communicate is touching and makes me hopeful that I can one day help people in that way.  I’ve got a lot of studying ahead of me but I’m definitely up for it.


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