Friday, April 10, 2015

THE INTOUCHABLES

Francois Cluzet, Omar Sy

"Sometimes You have to Reach into Someone
else's World to find out 
What's Missing in your Own"


It was time to delve into the completely different world of foreign language movies for my viewing entertainment. 

This French movie about the camaraderie that develops between Philippe, a wealthy quadriplegic and Driss, his caretaker was released in 2012. "The Intouchables" was a huge success all over Europe. Mostly due to the charming chemistry between its two main stars, Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy.

I'm familiar with Cluzet as I've previously seen him in various roles in other French films. A solid, steady and quite reliable actor. On the other hand, Omar Sy made quite an impact in this role, he became an instant celebrity.

Based on a true story, there isn't much background info about Philippe's source of wealth but it is obvious he is very affluent, appreciates the finer things in life. He is always well dressed despite being wheelchair bound for the rest of his existence. 

Driss only wanted to get Philippe's signature so he could receive unemployment benefits. He wasn't one of the candidates applying for the position of caretaker. He hardly qualifies as he has no educational nor any medical training for the job. But Philippe was intrigued and decided to offer Driss the task for a one month trial period. 

Soon the challenges begin for Driss as it is a very demanding job but Philippe is quite patient and understanding. They complement each other, accepting each other's flaws and differences like their contrasting tastes in music (Driss is into 80s bands like 'Earth, Wind and Fire' while Philippe prefers classical music) as their symbiotic relationship turns into a profound friendship.

The film doesn't make judgments on the visible contrast between the haves and the have-nots nor on the unlikely, interracial friendship. Perhaps because it was presented through a well written comedy that isn't a sentimental mess (as it often happens in films about handicapped people). 

The end credits show us the real people upon whom this story is based. I notice the caretaker isn't of African descent, more likely of Middle Eastern heritage. I wonder why they decided to change his character. I know there are many French actors from that particular region who have become successful in the industry. Most of them, good comedians. 

Nevertheless, Omar Sy did a good job. It doesn't diminish the feel good factor of this charmingly delightful buddy movie. I highly recommend this film, it was quite a pleasant experience.

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