Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Sea Inside

(Mar adentro, Spain, France, Italy, 2004)

Based on a true story of a quadriplegic poet who fought for 30 years for his right to die, and when he was unable to convince the legislators and courts, was helped by friends.
I believe in the absolute right to die, not only for the physically disabled but for anyone who finds life intolerable. Any other point of view means you believe the state, or the church, or your neighbors own your life. To me, your life is the only thing you really own, the only thing that matters, anyway. If I decide one day that I just can’t take it anymore or even that I’m just not happy with my life anymore, I will end it. If I am sufficiently disabled that I can’t do it myself, I’d hope I would have friends who would help.
Many groups of the disabled are opposed to assisted suicide, afraid that it’s the first step toward getting rid of those who are a burden on society. Many also are offended by those who choose not to accept conditions that they themselves accept, and point out that they are leading enjoyable, fulfilling lives. In my opinion, a quadriplegic has no more right to demand another quad must live than I do. His experience is his own! I personally feel that I would not want to live as a quad, but I could be wrong. If it ever happens to me, I demand the choice!
This is a very good movie that covers all the angles. Javier Bardem delivers a fantastic performance, mostly bed-bound. Most of the time he is amused by all the fuss. To him it is simple and inarguable, but of course other people have other ways of looking at it. It is also interesting that his lawyer has a degenerative disease. She decides to end her life, too, but waits too late. This decision is never easy, and the film does not shy away from the heartbreak it causes those left behind. But in the end … Whose life is it, anyway?