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Film / The Sea Inside

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The Sea Inside (Mar Adentro) is a 2004 film from Spain directed by Alejandro Amenabar, starring Javier Bardem.

The film opens with the arrival of Julia (Belen Rueda), a lawyer, at the seaside home of Ramon Sampedro (Bardem). Ramon is a quadriplegic, having broken his neck as a result of a diving accident nearly 28 years ago. Ramon has no interest in life as a quadriplegic, and in fact wants to be allowed to die, which is why Julia is there in the first place. The problem is that Ramon is physically incapable of killing himself, and Spain has no assisted suicide law; anyone who helps Ramon could be prosecuted for murder. A long legal battle ensues as Ramon seeks to end his life on his own terms. Meanwhile, Julia has her own major health problems, which deepen her sympathy for Ramon's plight.



  • Based on a True Story: Ramon Sampedro was a real guy who broke his neck while diving in 1968 just as the movie indicates, and really did spend 28 years fighting for his right to die.
  • Downer Ending: Ramon kills himself. While that's what he wanted, of course, we also find out that Julia has had another stroke which has left her with massive brain damage, unable even to remember Ramon.
  • Driven to Suicide: The whole plot, as Ramon is determined to kill himself.
  • Everybody Did It: Sort of. Since Ramon lost his legal battle, anyone who assists him in killing himself would be subject to prosecution. So he deliberately sets it up so that each of friends has a single task relating to his suicide—acquiring the cyanide, mixing it in the water, setting it by his bedside in a glass—and no one can actually be held responsible.
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  • Face Death with Dignity: Not only is Ramon unafraid to die, he sets up a video camera and narrates his own death by potassium cyanide.
  • Flashback: To Ramon's diving accident.
  • Hard-Work Montage: A brief one shows Julia going through rehab after suffering a stroke that impairs her legs. Evidently the hard work is unsuccessful, as she spends the rest of the movie in a chair.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Ramon's problem. He points out that the Spanish legal system never punishes unsuccessful suicides. In his final video he tells the Spanish establishments how much he resents having to kill himself in secret like a criminal.
  • Imagine Spot:
    • One scene has Ramon getting out of bed. He goes into the hallway, takes a running start, jumps out the window, and...flies.
    • Another has him imagining getting out of bed and passionately kissing Julia.
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Played with, in that while Ramon is inspiring in a way, his wish is to die.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Ramon says that he had a girlfriend before the accident. She visited him in the hospital sometimes, until he told her to go away, because he was no longer able to love her.
  • The Ken Burns Effect: As Julia looks over old photos of Ramon before his accident.
  • Like a Son to Me: Ramon tries to tell his nephew Javier this by showing Javier a poem, written by Ramon to the son he never had, which is dedicated to Javier. Javier, who isn't too bright, doesn't get it.
  • Love Triangle: A decidedly odd one between quadriplegic Ramon, wheelchair-bound Julia, and Ramon's able-bodied admirer Rosa.
  • Match Cut
    • From Julia reclining her airplane seat on the flight home, to Ramon being reclined in his bed.
    • From Julia pressing a button on her tape recorder as Ramon tells his story, to her pressing a button again back in her home as she listens to the recording.
    • From Julia and Ramon kissing in an Imagine Spot to a nearly identical shot of them kissing in real life.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Julia's arrival at Ramon's home sets up a lot of exposition as Ramon's story and situation are explained.
  • The Nothing After Death: That's what Ramon believes is waiting for him, after Rosa asks him to show her a sign from the grave if there's life after death.
  • Single Tear: From Julia as she looks at all the snapshots of Ramon's pre-accident life.
  • Symbolic Serene Submersion: In the flashbacks showing the accident, Ramon is shown floating limp below the surface.
    Julia: Were you left unconscious?
    Ramon: No, I was just there . . . face down. Floating. You know, it's true what they say about those that are about to die, that all of a sudden you get to see the most important moments of your life. That happened to me.
  • Video Credits: Of all the main players at the end.

Alternative Title(s): Mar Adentro


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