For readers who saw No Country for Old Men, or Mondays in the Sun, or Vicky Christina Barcelona, Javier Bardem was the bull in the china shop; for readers who saw Love in the Time of Cholera, he was the kindly old-young man who pursued the movie's haunting and beautiful lady almost to the end.
But in The Sea Inside, Bardem plays a young Spanish mariner paralyzed from the neck down for 26 years due to a miscalculated dive into the ocean a-la-Acapulco cliff divers, when he was about twenty and in the prime of life.
Moreover, the supporting cast in The Sea Inside is as remarkable as Bardem, beginning with the young Spanish working-girl who falls hopelessly in love with him, and including three other ladies under Bardem's spell as well as his strict Catholic older brother and his older brother's son. The time is now, the place is Spain, and of course in Catholic Spain not only is suicide a cardinal sin, but so is helping someone commit it.
I won't reveal the ending of this astonishing and satisfying and humane film, but I'll admit it hit me so hard I had to wait a year before watching it a second time.
Rent it. Buy it. However. Enjoy.