Julien Neaves, Editor
Warning: Minor spoilers ahead
Plot: The Intouchables is about the unlikely friendship between a wealthy quadriplegic named Philippe (François Cluzet) and his street smart, ex-con immigrant caregiver Driss (Omar Sy). It is directed by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano and is inspired by the true events of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and Abdel Sellou. When it was released in France it became the second biggest box office hit after 2008’s Welcome to the Sticks.
Review: Now wait a minute. French comedy-drama The Intouchables? Didn’t that movie come out way back in 2011? Yes, dear reader this is a review for a nine-year-old movie. And why, I hear you asking. Well firstly I had never seen it before, and only watched it today after it was recently dropped on Netflix (Latin America/Caribbean region). And secondly, it’s just a brilliant film. So yeah, review time.
The main reason I checked out this film was for Omar Sy. I was so blown away by his recent performance in the crime drama series Lupin that I had to check out more of his work. And after seeing him in The Intouchables I can understand why he won a César Award for Best Actor for the role (the Césars are the French equivalent of the Academy Awards). Sy is simply pitch perfect as the humorous, irreverent, politically incorrect, short-tempered, flirty and American soul-music-loving Driss. He hits those comedic and dramatic beats like a maestro hitting keys on a piano. And he has the most heartwarming and hilarious chemistry with Cluzet as Philippe, who also deserves praise for his wonderfully understated performance.
The film clocks in at almost two hours but it keeps such a brisk pace and fills each scene with so much life and energy that you will not notice the time. The opening flash forward where Driss is driving Philippe, they get stopped by police for speeding, and then they pretend that Driss was driving him to the hospital, complete with Philippe faking a seizure, tells you everything you need to know about the tone and feel of this story. And when you are not laughing or tearing up you will be head bobbing to the funky soul soundtrack or smiling inwardly at Ludovico Einaudi’s enchanting score.
Another reason I love this film (one of many) is the handling of Philippe’s disability. Unlike the hackneyed depiction in Me Before You, this aspect feels very relatable and more true to life. When Philippe says he chose Driss to assist him because he helps him without pitying him, that rang true to my interactions with members of the disabled community. And I also appreciated the message of celebrating life despite the disability rather than tossing it away.
I fell in love with this film at first sight and the flames of passion only burned more intensely as the time went on. What, you didn’t know I was a part-time poet? But seriously, I adore this film. It made me laugh throughout and even caused me to shed a few of those rare man tears. And I dug that! Hollywood did an Americanised version in 2019 with Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston called The Upside, but I haven’t seen it, so I can’t recommend it or not. The original, however, I can recommend unreservedly. It is all 12 flavours of awesome sauce.
Julien’s Score: 10 out of 10
Julien “Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”.
I can also be found posting on Instagram as redmanwriter and talking about TV and movie stuff on Facebook at Movieville.