The Intouchables (Intouchables)
Release year: 2011
Director: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano
Screenwriter: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano
Starring: François Cluzet, Omar Sy, Anne Le Ny, Audrey Fleurot, Clotilde Mollet, Joséphine de Meaux, Cyril Mendy, Salimata Kamate
The true story of the quadriplegic millionaire Philipe (François Cluzet) who took a change with Driss (Omar Sy), a young man from the projects who only seeks the position of caretaker for Philipe to recieve his unemployment benefit. Challenged by the aristocrat wheelchair bound man Driss moves in for a month, changing the life of everyone in the house.
Sometimes a movie comes along that on paper brings nothing new but that touches you to your very soul. Intouchables is one of those movies. With the chemistry between Cluzet (Tell No One, 2006) and Sy (Samba, 2014) so warm it melts through the screen and adds a huge smile on you lips and astonishing performances from the two men, but especially Cluzet that manage to do all his acting while only able to move his head, Intouchables is a rare gem: a feel-good movie capeable of making you smile through tears. Philip’s choice to take a chance on Driss is understandable. The outspoken and rude young man clearly treats the handicapped man no different than anyone else and it is easy to see how he, perhaps don’t excactly regonize him as just what he needs, but definitely as something different adding a welcome change in his dull life. While Driss is mostly motivated by the luxurious surroundings giving him hardly needed accommodation and his ego stirred by the challenge, his empathy is quickly woken, something that is a pure pleasure to observe. Since the movie mainly consists of the growing friendship between the two oposite men, it is lucky that they both deliver such pleasureable performances and if you think a movie about a man unable to move anything beyond his neck must be boring, then you clearly haven’t met Driss! This charming character brings so much sunshine to the story and his refreshingly carefree take on Philip’s situation is touching and inspiring. While Philip’s friends worry about this strange man he has brought into his home, several moments prove that sometimes you don’t need an education to take care of those in need, sometimes you just need to be human, and Driss is very much human. I highly reccomend you to watch this and dare you not to be touched!
Although the real-life ‘Driss’ was a young Algerian man called Abdel, directors Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache changed the character’s nationality to West-African, as they had enjoyed working with Omar Sy on Tellement proches (2009), and really wanted him to play the part. Sy also had the experience of living in the impoverished French suburbs, just like Driss.
Picture copyright: Scanbox