The French drama "The Intouchables" starts with a caption which informs us that this movie is based on a true story. That thing scrawled across the screen might be for hard-hearted humans, so stop worrying about where the narrative diverges from the true story or about the degrees of factual veracity. It is considered a good film for a whole different reasons: uplifting, funny, heartwarming, etc. The movie offers a great hope for all people. It briefly brushes on real-world problems like immigration and poverty without pounding them to death. And, above all it has got a understated sweetness that is not to be taken for granted.
Intouchables was a huge box-office phenomenon in France, last year. It is hardly a game-changing movie, its sentimental, superficial and precisely what you expect. It also looks like the hybrid of Bucket List, Driving Miss Daisy and Diving Bell and the Butterfly. But, apart from all these expected themes, the movie is highly watchable because of its two excellent lead actors -- Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy.
PlotPhilippe (Francois Cluzet) is a wealthy aristocrat and lives in a big, luxurious house with his spoiled teenage daughter (Alba Gaia Bellugi) and members of his staff. As a paragliding accident, he is paralyzed from the neck down as a result of a paragliding accident. He has gone through lot of caregivers, since his accident. In one of the interviews, Driss (Omar Sy) barrages impatiently into the room and asks Philippe to sign his form saying he applied for a job and was rejected so that he can receive unemployment benefits. Philippe feels refreshing to see a man with rebellious spirit, lack of pity and irreverent attitude.
He hires Driss as the caregiver and rest of the staffs are horrified at his decision. A friend of Philippe warns, “These street guys have no pity.” He replies “That’s what I want,” “No pity.” Driss is a Senegalese immigrant with a criminal record for robbery. The first thing he does in Philippe's house is the act of stealing, a priceless Faberge egg that belonged to Philippe’s beloved late wife. But gradually, their horizons expand and a friendship begins to blossom, which is fueled by mutual respect, a love of fast cars, and musical diversity.
AnalysisCluzet's performance, considering the challenges posted by his role, is more than fantastic. He conveys every emotion from the shoulders up, and he does so very well. Since becoming paralyzed his character longs for thrills and adventure, and knows that a free spirit like Driss is the person who can provide them. On the other hand, Omar Sy's performance as Driss blows away all the flaws of this movie. His stunning physical presence, buoyant laughter, and dance moves are always an immense pleasure to watch. In the case of buddy comedies, the actors and their chemistry represents the foundation upon which all else is built. So, in that way both the leads are winners: they inhabit their character fully and interact with each other with genuine warmth.
The Intouchables is written and directed by Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakacheo. Their direction fills the film full of inspirational moments. The script opens the door to some interesting ideas about the informal, spontaneous, playful, and laughter-filled dimensions of care-giving, although the complexities of class conflict go largely unexplored here and there is also racial stereotyping. If for you, the social context matters little, if at all, the pleasures are similar -- two men learn that background, income and ability don’t define friendship.
Despite its few shortcomings, "The Intouchables" is an excellent feel-good movie that must be felt to be believed.
The Intouchables - IMDb