This is always my favorite time of year for movies -- when most of the best are let out of the gate to contend for an Oscar nomination.
I just saw The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and I'm sure it will haunt me for some time. It's based on a true story about a 40-something French magazine superstar who has a stroke that leaves him in "locked-in syndrome" -- paralyzed completely except for the ability to blink one eye, but completely sound of mind. He wrote a memoir (with lots of help from an assistant) using a system in which he communicated by blinking his eye. But rather than being a bleak film about a horrifically disabled man, this movie is all about the power of the imagination, and the director, the painter Julian Schnabel, creates a film of high art that taps deep emotion. There's also a wicked wittiness that I didn't expect in such a potentially depressing film. Funny thing is, this film wasn't the least bit depressing.
I'm eager to hear others' thoughts about this extraordinary film. Also, does anyone have any other Oscar-quality recommendations for films showing now? I'm really curious about Orphanage and No Country for Old Men. Any comments about these or others?