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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'The Sea Inside': The Heartrending Depiction of a Quadriplegic's Fervent Campaign for Liberation

Movie poster for the Spanish film The Sea Inside starring Javier Bardem as Ramón Sampedro

The Sea Inside (Mar Adentro) (2004) is an impassioned Spanish drama that tells the true story of Ramón Sampedro (Javier Bardem), a seaman who is left quadriplegic after a devastating diving accident. Bedridden for his entire adult life, Sampedro wages a fervent 28-year campaign for the legal right to end his own life.

Assisted by crusading lawyer and close confidante Gené (Clara Segura) Sampedro challenges the Spanish courts for his right to euthanasia, arguing that their refusal is a violation of his statutory freedom of choice. The film explores his burgeoning relationship with Gené as well as a local woman named Rosa (Lola Dueñas), who is fiercely dedicated to convincing Sampedro that life is inexorably worth living, despite his extreme limitations.

Co-written and directed by Spanish filmmaker Alejandro Amenábar (Open Your Eyes, The Others), The Sea Inside captures Sampedro's humanity in a wonderfully effervescent manner. Bardem is extraordinary as the warm and graceful Spaniard, dedicated to lyricism and prone to vibrant fantasies of salvation. A tale of adoration, dedication and longing—rarely has a story sanctifying death felt so wistfully alive.


View the trailer:


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