Running Time: 112 minutes
Starring: Francois Cluzet, Omar Sy, Audrey Fleurot, Anne Le Ny
Directed By: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano
Rating: 8 out of 10
An unlikely friendship is formed after a quadriplegic man hires a street thug to be his primary caregiver.
I rarely get to watch foreign films but when I do I am always upset I don’t get to more often. This is a brilliant film and in an ideal world would be nominated for best foreign film at the Oscars this year. The Intouchables is the tale of two men from EXTREMELY different worlds. Philippe is a rich older white gentleman who is paralyzed from the neck down. Driss is a young black street hustler just trying to make ends meet. Based on a true story Philippe hires Driss as his primary helper/caregiver and the both of them develop a friendship that society or each other never thought possible.
The Intouchables on the surface is a simple story that has been seen many times in books and in film. The story of two people from opposite sides of the tracks becoming best friends has been done before. Why this story differs slightly is the enormity of the differences between Philippe and Driss. The film starts off and seeing Driss in his street clothes at Philippe’s old fashioned mansion is funny in on itself. The journey of these two men from start to finish is mesmerizing. The film is principally a dialogue driven film with very funny character interactions. Driss’s awkward start to his caregiver job and his interactions with the straight laced workers at the mansion is priceless. I also liked how neither man conformed to each other’s lifestyles, which is a nice touch.
Omar Sy played Driss and was remarkable. His emotional range and charismatic smile really sold you to this rough and tumble character. Philippe played by Francois Cluzet or the French Dustin Hoffman was also no less than great. He comes off as articulate and straight laced but can shatter that persona with a simple child like smile. The two of them together is a revelation and the film worked the best when they were bantering on screen. Their easy relationship while unorthodox was believable and what everyone looks for in a friendship.
Anne Le Ny playing Nurse Yvonne gets an honorable mention for an enjoyable and honest performance in the supporting actress category.
The progression of Driss and Philippe’s relationship is never boring to watch and in it you can find strength, honesty, humor, respect, and most of all believability. Philippe teaches Driss about opera, art, classical music, and trust. Driss teaches Philippe about love, living life, letting lose, and having fun. It is the simple things that make this movie so great. A scene where Driss puts a damp towel caringly on Philippe’s head when he is sick will stick in your memory long after this film is done. Trust me there are many more scenes I could bring up but please just watch this movie. I found I had a big grin on my face during this whole film but it still was able to bring a tear to my eye which is a rare trait in films today.
Directors and writers Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano shot a brilliant film that they can be very proud of. At times there is editing problems but I am basically nit picking. Their casting was spot on and the old fashioned house where most of this film is shot at is a work of genius. An always fun flick with such a serious topic proves these guys know how to make a great movie.
I give this movie a huge recommendation to anyone looking for a powerful film of trust and friendship (it is subtitled)
T Factor + If you like foreign films this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you do not like subtitles this could score way lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: As Good as it Gets, Bon Cop, Bad Cop