Mar Adentro (The Sea Inside) tells the real life story of Ramón Sampedro, a paraplegic in Spain, who fought the courts for 30 years for his right to die. Ramon was involved in a tragic accident when he jumped into the ocean while the water was receding and broke his neck, rendering him paralyzed for life. Confined to his bed, never to be able to move again, he feels life is not worth living in his state.
Ramón has to be taken care of at all times by his family. They all love him deeply but have very strong and differing views about Ramon’s desire to die. Ramon is very alert and intelligent, charming, with a great sense of humor. The movie explores the relationships dear to him. Including a female lawyer, who he hired to fight for his cause because she is suffering from a degenerative disease, and a woman from a nearby town who wanted to convince him that life is worth living that both fight for his attention.
It’s a very serious film that delves into the multiple sides of this controversial topic of assisted suicide. Ramón wants to die with dignity, not be a burden on his family, and the freedom to either live or die. But others see it differently. Ramón is still mentally sharp and they want him to see that there are reasons to live. It also takes a look at different moral positions as well as what happens after you die.
The literal translation of Mar Adentro is Sea Inside, but the meaning of the phrase is more like Out to Sea. While many people have different interpretations as to the meaning of the title, I think it refers to his mental world. Being stuck on his bed, he spends a lot of time inside his head left to his thoughts, memories, and feelings. It also has significance since he was a sailor and his accident occurred in the water.
Mar Adentro is made by Alejandro Amenábar, the same director as Abre Los Ojos and Tesis. He has delivered yet again with another amazing movie. The acting is great; most notably by Javier Bardem who plays Ramón and gives an incredible performance. You might know him from his role as the villain in No Country for Old Men. The scenery and cinematography is also amazing.
Mar Adentro is a very heavy film. It’s extremely powerful and personal. It is one of the great films in Spanish cinema. If you’re learning Spanish, or even if you’re not, you check it out.