A drama that is as funny as it is heart-warming and moving? This is the case with The Intouchables, a film based on a the true story of a man and his unlikely carer, and the relationship that changed their lives. Review after the jump!
Philippe (François Cluzet) is a wealthy quadriplegic in need of a carer. It seems even the most diligent of carers don’t stick around long, and he is having trouble finding a suitable person. Enter Driss (Omar Sy), an unemployed man who couldn’t care less about the job or Philippe, but merely seeks a signature to say he tried [and failed] to secure paid employment so he can receive the benefit. However, Philippe sees something more in Driss that a bad attitude and shady background, he sees a strong man, with functioning arms and legs, and most importantly he sees someone who doesn’t pity him. Philippe takes Driss on, and so begins the most unlikely of friendships that will change both of their lives. Through the ups and downs, Driss teaches Philippe that he can still have a full life, and Driss learns that he has value and is important to people after all.
Although the plot may sound cheesy, this film is anything but. As someone who avoids films with a cheese-factor, I was pleasantly surprised how the this film was uplifting, moving and often hilarious, without falling into the dreaded clichés trap. The balance of humour and drama was just right, and it was a very accessible story which easily sweeps the audience up. This accessibility has a lot to do with the extremely charming and warm Omar Sy, whose presence and pearly white smile positively lit up every scene he was in. When a man like that smiles, it is impossible not to smile back.
François Cluze also delivers a fantastic performance as Philippe, infusing the character with a fantastic wit and yet a level of vulnerability that I imagine those who rely on others for their everyday needs must have. The chemistry between the two leads was fantastic, and I didn’t doubt for one minute that their relationship wasn’t real and built on a weird mutual respect and understanding.
From the energetic and mesmerising opening credit sequence (possibly the best opening in 2012) and the inspired use of music by ‘Earth, Wind and Fire’, to the all-important lesson, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, The Intoucables is a memorable and entertaining cinema experience.
By Sam McCosh
Director: Olivier Nakache & Eric Toledano
Writer(s): Olivier Nakache & Eric Toledano
Starring: François Cluzet, Omar Sy, Anne Le Ny
Runtime: 112 minutes
Release date(s): Australia & New Zealand: October 25 2012