Intouchables

I can’t tell if this movie is Cinderella or Driving Miss Daisy or The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. I suppose it’s most accurate to call it some fairy tale hybrid of all three.

It’s about a black dude from “the street” who goes to work for a stuffy white one, who happens to be paralyzed from the neck down. A super tough situation for even a trained personal support worker, which of course he isn’t. But Driss and Philippe form the obligatory bridging-theThe-Intouchables1-race-gap friendship, and white guy comes back to life, as it were, thanks to, you know, watching the black guy dance to Earth, Wind & Fire and stuff.

I actually like this movie. I should have said that first, because reading the above has probably given you the wrong impression. Everyone will like this movie because you’re supposed to. It’s feel-good, dammit. I dare you NOT to have your goods felt after this. I’m all felt up.

Basically, the two actors are pretty great. Omar Sy as Driss and  Francois Cluzet as Philippe are an excellent pair. They play off each other well and have great on-screen chemistry that makes their friendship seem real. Their “unlikely” friendship, I should say, because I have a feeling that’s what the blurb on the back of the DVD would say if I had it here in front of me. It’s probably a little insulting that in 2015 we still think of an interracial friendship as unlikely. Even thinking of it as interracial is unnatural. But the film keeps reminding us that it is, because all of Philippe’s uptight (white) friends keep stage-whispering it to him, as if quadriplegia has also affected his eyes.

In fact, Philippe hired the likes of Driss because he’s tired of being pitied. Driss doesn’t have a pitying bone in his body, but apparently he’s got a lot of tender ones because very quickly he’s intouchables-carthe best little nursemaid in town. Never has looking after a severely disabled individual for money seemed so fun! Plus, there’s the Pretty Woman aspect – he gets exposed to (white) culture – you know, museums, expensive cars, classical music. And yes, Philippe even buys him a new suit so he can look pretty at a party. But don’t you worry. Driss contributes too. He buys the weed.

Okay, now this review is making ME think I didn’t like the movie. And I did! It’s just a little facile, I suppose, compared to the Diving Bell. It’s sugary and sweet and avoids the sticky spots by a wide margin. It’s really just a buddy movie with pretensions. The acting saves it from slipping into maudlin and the two make an irresistible (interracial) pair.

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15 thoughts on “Intouchables

  1. Carrie Rubin

    I’d like to watch this one, but ‘the sugary and sweet’ aspect of it has kept me from doing so. But maybe when I’m really grumpy and need sugary and sweet, I’ll grab it from the library and give it a go.

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  2. Ashley Lily Scarlett

    I really enjoyed this film. I think the differences between the two protagonists go beyond race though definitely that was leant on heavily. The story is based on a real story and the Driss character was not in fact black. But there’s the socio-economic gap as well and as the title suggests, the outsider position they share, albeit for very different reasons. You’re right, it’s a feel-good movie for sure, I laughed my guts out.

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  3. Andrew

    LOL, this movie looked so dumb and so I actively avoided it…and the remake with the likes of Kevin Hart and Colin Firth is going to be even worse, I assume.

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  4. Christopher

    The plot and cliches make me cringe, but I don’t find it hard to imagine how the actors could save it, or at least make it worth watching. It reminds me of “Theory of Flight” with Kenneth Branagh and Helena Bonham Carter which was sentimental but still enjoyable because, among other things, Branagh and Carter could have just phoned it in but gave strong performances.

    The advantage of “Intouchables” is that I don’t know Sy and Cluzet from Shinola. With a story like this it’s so much easier to suspend my disbelief when I don’t recognize the actors. That can make even the cliches forgivable.

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  5. StephLove

    Never has looking after a severely disabled individual for money seemed so fun! >>

    I’m re-reading Duma Key now and it’s not exactly a barrel of laughs for the characters (being a Stephen King novel) the “unlikely” friendship aspect between the three main characters, all of whom have some kind of disability (limb difference, Alzheimers, and impending blindness) and one of whom is an unlikely caretaker for another (given that his last job was as a lawyer) was what came to mind when I read that. It’s a stretch, but if you suspend your disbelief, it works.

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  6. Pingback: Me Before You(thenasia) | ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIES

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