The Intouchables Review
by Zachary “The FilmWizard” Marsh
Taking French as a freshman in high school has some advantages when you go to see a French movie. Usually with foreign movies, there are cultural jokes that only the people of the nation or people taking the language would get. That is not the case for The Intouchables. The Intouchables is one of those rare films that can connect with any audience, whether they’re of different race, religion, gender, ethnicity, age, etc. because the story is so touching, heartwarming, and downright funny. The film is about Philippe, a man who’s paralyzed from the neck down who decides to hire an assistant for his daily routines, plus to be his “partner” in life. All of the sudden Driss, an African American man from the French Ghetto comes into Philippe’s life, and sparks fly. These two opposites form a friendship that should not work, but somehow it does. This is that type of film where you can go into it expecting nothing and just love the hell out of it after. The Intouchables is hilarious, heartwarming, and just a sweet and great movie that might go down as one of the most under-looked films of 2012.
The film stars two gentlemen that we Americans probably have never heard of. François Cluzet and Omar Sy are our two leads in this film, and my goodness are they incredible. Cluzet is charming and great as Philippe, the handicapped man. For a man who doesn’t move a single muscle in his body (other than his head) for nearly two hours is something quite tricky to do. It might sound easy just to sit in a chair for an entire film and do nothing but speak, but even the slightest movement of a finger can ruin the illusion of being paralyzed. Cluzet deserves some recognition for his role in this film, because he is simply great. However as great as Cluzet is, the real standout of the film is Driss, the arms and legs of Philippe, played by the absolutely fantastic Omar Sy. Driss is the type of character who is energetic, funny, and the type of guy who you would want to be best friends with. From the first time the audience sees Driss and Philippe driving in a car, things get very crazy which all leads to them singing to Earth Wind & Fire’s “September” on the radio. If you are laughing there, then it is guaranteed you will be laughing whenever Driss comes on screen. I can now see why Omar Sy won the Caesar Award last year over Academy Award-winning actor Jean Dujardin for The Artist.
The reason why the film works, aside from Cluzet and Sy’s fantastic performances, is the chemistry between their characters. With Philippe and Driss being complete opposites of one another, they form a brother like bond that will capture the heart of any kind and loving soul out there. Writers/directors Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano have crafted a funny, touching, and marvelous film that should be seen by any audience out there. This is the first foreign film I’ve seen where any audience, whether you take French or love to ditch school, can enjoy the chemistry between the two leads, have a lot of laughs, and get emotionally involved with what’s going on. Even people who don’t like to read subtitles will really enjoy this film as well. If this movie opens up anywhere near you, I highly recommend you checking it out. There’s a reason why this is the second highest French film of all time, so all you have to do is believe what I’m saying and check out The Intouchables. It’s more than just a film: it’s a spiritual journey worth taking. Bring that one to the bank if you’re willing to.