Every year, directors try to make movies that try and appeal to one’s emotions, challenge our ability to think and try and leave us with something important to think about. Some, however, go beyond that to deliver a movie experience like none other. The Intouchables, a new subtitled french-language foreign film by The Weinstein Company, does precisely that.
Directed by long-time collaborators Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano, The Intouchables is a dramatic comedy, based on a true-story, that showcases the development of a strong relationship between Philippe (François Cluzet), a rich quadriplegic, and Driss (Omar Sy), a young offender. Philippe, needing a care taker for himself, hires Driss, an unlikely candidate from a pool of more qualified individuals. What ensues is the unlikely bonding of characters, and an emotional journey that truly redefines the meaning of friendship.
The Intouchables is a beautiful work of art. What Nakache & Toledano bring to the screen is a movie that stirs ones emotions. The film focuses around two themes: friendship & respect. You are presented with two characters who are different in every way: socially, morally & financially. However, the way in which their bond develops on screen is just amazing. This film utilizes powerful dialogue and conversation as the primary means to develop their relationship on screen. You are presented with two characters and a story line that just captivates you at every moment without needing the dreary sexual themes or added violence that other films utilize.
Cluzet & Sy are master actors. Cluzet’s performance as the rich quadriplegic is unlike any other performance. He is able to convey the internal struggle of a paralytic very well, whilst also being able to showcase comedic elements, such as humoring his characters difficulties. Sy also gives a strong performance, creating this man who speaks his mind, does what he wants but is still able to dig deep and show compassion and respect. The key in the whole movie is the respect demonstrated by both characters. Two individuals from very different classes who find mutual ground to respect one another. That is very powerful.
This movie highlights the rare cases of true humanity and how some understand the hardships others face. In the whole movie, Driss does not sympathize for Philippe’s condition. Rather, acknowledges it and decides to be a part of it. The respect and friendship seen by these characters is unlike any other and it does make you wonder: how much do we take for granted the luxuries that we have become use to and as a result, how little do we understand those who don’t have them?
The Intouchables is a beautiful and moving film that puts a bit of humour on the complexities of life. It adds a positive dimension to the hardships some of us face and it teaches us a little bit more about what friendship really means. You are not only rewarded with master-class acting and a magical story, but are left with a positive and wonderful feeling at the end. I would recommend this movie in heart beat. Its one of the best movies I have seen this year.
The Intouchables releases in Toronto on June 1st and subsequently in the following cities: Ottawa & Vancouver – June 8th; Calgary & Edmonton – June 15th. A word of thanks to Alliance Films for choosing to distribute such a beautiful movie.