How often does a seemingly simple film capture the imagination of the world? “Intouchables” does, with originality and charm. It’s so vividly real and touching, that it holds you spellbound for two hours, with no letup. The movie was a smash hit in France, with a staggering 5 million cinema-goers flocking to catch the film in its first two weeks. But why? Yes it is essentially a buddy movie, but with a twist. On the surface, it may sound like a horrendous cliché with the potential to be dull and repetitive. But truth be told, writer directors Oliver Nakache and Eric Toledano have created a film that is not only heartbreaking, but funny and socially accurate as well. The story follows the unlikely bond between Philippe (François Cluzet), a widowed aristocrat paralyzed from the neck down after a paragliding accident, and Driss (Omar Sy), a young black man of Senegalese origin, who is employed by Philippe as his personal carer. Driss shows Philippe how to enjoy life again, in a clever and often hilarious ways. What I loved about “Intouchables” is that it successfully steers away from being cheesy. Early on, we learn that Philippe chose to employ Driss as he knew that a man from the estates would never pity him. In a way, it’s the lack of pity that makes this movie so damn good. And by the end, I was deeply moved, not out of pity, but because I loved this unusual relationship.
I came to this movie as a blank state, with no expectations, and came out with a huge smile on my face. “Intouchables” is a feel good movie that actually makes you feel good. It’s also a movie that earns its laughs honestly and touchingly. Do not miss it.