Film Review: The Intouchables

by Dhanya

The Intouchables (2011)

Cast: Francois Cluzet, Omar Sy, Audrey Fleurot, Clotilde Mollet, Anne Le Ny

Director: Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano

Driss is an ex-convict whose only ambition is to continue receiving his welfare benefits. With this in mind, he attends an interview as a caregiver for a wealthy quadriplegic, Philippe, intending to be rejected. However, Philippe takes a liking to Driss – “He’s the only one who doesn’t treat me with pity.” – and hires him on a trial basis. In the beginning, Driss struggles through his role as reluctant caregiver, almost to the point of neglecting Philippe. But he soon proves to be an adept caregiver and slowly learns the true extent of Philippe’s condition. An unlikely friendship develops between the two, forcing Driss to look beyond a life of crime, and Philippe to look beyond the confines of his disabilities.

If you’ve had a hankering for a good film that doesn’t involve explosions or scantily clad women, then this is the film to watch. Having very little knowledge of French films, I didn’t really know what to expect. What I got was one of the most enjoyable cinematic experiences that I’ve had in a long time, perhaps because of how well balanced the film is. It explores the gap between the upper and lower classes of society while including a perfect mix of comedy and drama. Indeed, one of the highlights of the film is the hilarious clashes between Driss and Phillipe over their perceptions of the finer things in life. Another little fact to tug at your heartstrings is that the plot of the film is inspired by the true story of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and his French-Algerian caregiver, Abdel Sellou, discovered by the directors in A la vie, a la Mort, a documentary film.

It is safe to say that, had the characters of Driss and Philippe been played by different actors, the film would have fallen flat on its face. Francois Cluzet, who plays Philippe, and Omar Sy, who plays Driss, definitely do their characters justice. After all is said and done, the highest praise that I can give this is movie is this: watch the film.

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