The Sea Inside | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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This thoughtful, sometimes beautiful feature by Alejandro Amenabar (Thesis, Open Your Eyes, The Others) is loosely based on the true story of Spanish poet Ramon Sampedro, a quadriplegic who fought a 30-year legal battle for his right to die. Amenabar addresses the theme of euthanasia by providing a sharp, almost novelistic sense of what the hero (Javier Bardem) means to his family and his friends (Lola Duenas is a standout as one of them). The treatment of the sea, where Sampedro was crippled in a diving accident but to which he still feels a connection, is particularly lyrical. A film about freedom as well as death, this won't suit every taste, but it rewards close attention and has moments of saving humor. In Spanish with subtitles. PG-13, 125 min. Century 12 and CineArts 6, Pipers Alley.

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