The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

2007 PG-13 1h 52m DVD

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

2007 PG-13 1h 52m DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
Mathieu Amalric stars as author and Elle magazine editor Jean-Dominique Bauby in this adaptation of Bauby's autobiography, which he dictated by blinking his left eye after a stroke rendered him mute and paralyzed.
Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Josée Croze, Anne Consigny, Patrick Chesnais, Niels Arestrup, Olatz López Garmendia, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Marina Hands, Max von Sydow
Julian Schnabel
Widescreen Anamorphic 1.85:1
English, French, Spanish (Neutral)
French: Dolby Digital 5.1, English: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish (Neutral): Dolby Digital 5.1
PG-13 - Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers.
age 16+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 16+
age 16+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that this subtitled French drama offers a fairly sophisticated, though repetitive, look at a single paralyzed character's point of view. The camera takes his very limited perspective (through one eye) and shows his lusty fantasies and flashbacks (which include some passionate tongue kissing). There are repeated shots of cleavage and women's bottoms, as well as both bare breasts and buttocks (and, in one non-sexual scene, male genitals). In voice-over narration, the main character talks about his lack of mobility and active imagination, including his desires for sex and, occasionally, death.

Sexual Content

Partial female and male nudity (breasts/nipples, buttocks) during bed/love scenes. A man's genitals are shown in a non-sexual context. Repeated cleavage shots, as Bauby looks at his ex-lovers and therapists leaning in to him. Bauby fantasizes about a passionate meal and kissing and embracing a therapist. Slow-motion shot of nurses' bottoms as they walk. Bauby refers to his previous lusty life.


Bauby suggests he'd like to die, at which point a therapist chides him for being selfish. Bauby remembers a past event when an associate was held hostage in Beirut (no images shown).


Language includes uses of "s--t" and "damn" (in French with subtitles).

Social Behavior

Bauby regrets some earlier life choices: abandoning lovers, not spending time with his children, and indirectly causing a friend's imprisonment. After his paralysis, he's initially ironic and angry, then grows appreciative of women's efforts and his own father's pain.


Not applicable

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Several instances of smoking; drinking and drunkenness in a flashback scene.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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