Monday, 16 June 2014


“Death may be the greatest of all human blessings.” – Socrates

Euthanasia: The very word strikes fear or repugnance into many people’s mind. The idea of deliberately causing someone to die, even if that person wishes it to be so himself, strikes us as something contrary to the laws of nature, is a thing proscribed by many religions and is something that is impossible to even contemplate for many persons.

Euthanasia literally means “a good death” in Greek and is often described as a “mercy killing” or “assisted suicide”. The issue is one fraught with immense moral and ethical questions and is highly controversial. Here is a web resource (Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy) that you may find interesting to consult.

The basic question posed by euthanasia is the following: "Should a person who is terminally ill, and who feels that their life is not worth living because of intractable pain (and/or loss of dignity, and/or loss of capability) and who repeatedly and actively asks for help in committing suicide and who is of sound mind and not suffering from depression be given assistance in dying?"

There are many people who will without thinking answer immediately and without thought with a resounding “NO!” to the above question. Others will answer with an unqualified “yes” and many will find themselves in a dilemma, not being able to make up their minds finding arguments for both sides of the debate. My offering for Movie Monday is a film that examines this question of euthanasia, and which is based on a true story. It provides an amazing insight into the life of Ramón Sampedro, a person who desires help in committing suicide. His attitude is summarised in this quote by Norman Cousins: “Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.”

The 2004 film is by Spaniard Alejandro Amenábar and is called Mar Adentro (‘The Sea Within’). It won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film in 2004 as well as 56 other awards. The acting, direction, story development and cinematography are excellent in this film, but overall it is the raw emotional power that it packs that makes it worthwhile. The film, despite its profound theme is not depressing and there moments of genuine humour, tenderness, as well as gut-wrenching emotion.

This is a film that is going to shock many people as it explores a highly emotive and controversial topic; a film that will definitely make you think and question your own beliefs and ethics, a film that will cause you to question your own attitudes and thoughts about death and love, a film that will above all else make you feel…

1 comment:

  1. I have seen this film and it was excellent! Great review.