film review

Review | Intouchables – 2011

The French film Intouchables is based on the biographic novel Le Second Souffle by Philippe Pozzo di Borgo. Philippe is an aristocrat who lives in a gorgeous mansion in the French capital Paris. After he becomes a quadriplegic from a paragliding accident, he hires a young man from the slums to be his caregiver. At first Driss has no ambitions, he only applies to this job to get his monthly payment. What Driss doesn’t know that because of his lack of pity, Philippe finds him the perfect candidate for the job. Because of Driss’ attitude towards Philippe and the things they do together, they become best friends.

The two lead characters are played by Omar Sy and François Cluzet, who respectively play the roles of Driss and Philippe. Sy recently played a small part in blockbuster films Jurassic World and X-Men: Days of Future Past, and played the title role in Samba. Cluzet is less known to the general public, since he only plays in French films. Despite of the unfamiliarity of the actors, it was a pleasure to watch these two men interact. Without Sy’s character the film would be much more dramatic and less enjoyable. Driss is the one who brightens up Philippe’s life and actually sees him as a human being, not as sad patient who relies on his caretakers. The two women who also help Philippe are Yvonne (Anne Le Ny) and Magalie (Audrey Fleurot). Yvonne and Magalie are both supporting roles, but also interesting characters. Whenever Driss is in the building, both women seems to be more vivid. So everbody benefits from Driss’ precense. And I just loved the interaction between Yvonne and Driss.

Intouchables 1The contrast between the main characters couldn’t be any bigger. Philippe is an aristocrat who has a lot of luxury he can’t use and on the other hand there is Driss. Driss’ life is complicated. He just got out of jail, comes from a large family, lives in the urban projects of Paris, has no job and he lives on welfare benefits. The only thing he has to do, is apply on jobs. When he applies to become the caretaker of this rich aristocrat Philippe, he never would have thought he would actually get the job. Nevertheless, Driss is a funny guy who respects other people in his own way. He is the worst caretaker ever, but because of his way of dealing with Philippe’s situation, Driss is actually the best person Philippe could get.

The film starts with a look into the future, so basically the entire film is flashback, and when the film eventually catches up with this moment, it’s very clear why this is done. This scène comes after the point when you realise how important Driss was for Philippe. How he excelled in making Philippe’s life a bit better, something a professional caretaker couldn’t do. Driss takes Philippe out for a ride in one of his luxurious cars and both characters learn from each other. For example in the field of music and art, and Driss teaches Philippe to smoke pod. The combination might be odd at first but as the film progresses we see the emergence of an amazing and remarkable friendship. Intouchables 2When you read the film’s synopsis, you would probably think of it as drama film, but that’s not entirely true. Yes the lives of the maincharacters have a dramatic vibe, but when these two are together there’s a lot of joy. Mostly because of Sy’s character. Driss is such a funny guy and his smile alone makes you laugh. He shows Philippe life can be fun with despite of his limitations. Driss also shows he can be very sweet when he arranges a lunchdate for Philippe near the end. The facial expressions of both characters and the emotions they represent are amazing. It was the most touching moment of the entire film. Don’t forget to listen to the film’s soundtrack, composed by Ludovico Einaudi, it is brilliant!

Intouchables might have a dramatic storyline, but because of the characters – mainly Driss (Omar Sy) – the film has also a lot of humor. The combination of the maincharacters Driss and Philippe seems a bit odd at first, but to see how a friendship starts and develops is very beautiful. 

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