THE INTOUCHABLES


The Intouchables is the based on a true story drama about a wealthy paraplegic (only his face can move and feel anything) and the man on the dole who comes to take care of him.  Written and directed by the duo Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, it’s moving, inspirational, entertaining and very well done.  For those of you who loved The Help, you will also love this movie.  It has the same plus and minuses.  On the minus side, it’s about how a wealthy white person teaches an irresponsible black man who only wants to game the system how to take responsibility for his life.  At the same time, like in The Help, after awhile one forgets about the racial basis for the movie and just becomes involved in the character interplay.  Omar Cy plays Driss, the caretaker, and he’s wonderful.  He needs to be.  His character isn’t that interesting; it’s the generally familiar street thug character one sees in thousands of movies like this.  But it’s easy to see why he beat out Jean Dujardin for Best Actor at the Cesars.  He really throws himself into the part and runs away with the movie.  Equally compelling though is Francois Cluzet as Philippe, the paraplegic, a much more nuanced character, someone who has accepted his situation with little pity (that’s one of the reasons he hires Driss over all other applicants—he knows Driss won’t treat him like an invalid).  It’s an equally impressive performance, but since it’s less physical (how can it not be), Cluzet is a bit overshadowed.  The story is rather predictable; it’s that old warhorse about how each character affects the other and how each is changed by the end of it.  There are no real surprises here; anyone who goes to movies or watches TV on a regular basis will be able to write the screenplay from the opening scene.  But try as you might, you can’t really knock the movie.  It does work and I seriously doubt anyone’s going to be disappointed if they see it.
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