Review: 'The Intouchables' inspire in more ways than one Special

Posted Jun 1, 2012 by Sarah Gopaul
'The Intouchables' is an exceptional film about two men who form an unlikely friendship from an agreement of necessity..
Alliance Films
The bromance movie is somewhat old hat now. They've ridden horses together, taken down the bad guys and supported each other in their romantic pursuits of others. But The Intouchables brings a new, refreshing level to the genre - it only took a real-life, improbable friendship to inspire the making of the film.
Philippe (François Cluzet) is seeking a full-time assistant, having been injured in an accident that left him a quadriplegic. He's had several helpers, but few of them remain more than a couple of weeks let alone to the end of the probationary period. Driss (Omar Sy) turned up at the latest round of interviews, seeking a signature so he could begin collecting unemployment benefits. Instead his brashness landed him a job with room and board. Philippe's friends worried because Driss was lower class and seemingly insensitive, but they formed a bond that excluded pity and transcended stature.
When reading the synopsis for this film, it seems impossible that people could leave the theatre without having shed a tear. Hollywood has conditioned audiences to believe these types of stories must contain a devastating event that will have them weeping in their seats. Writer/director team Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano successfully disprove this theory, creating an uplifting, heartfelt story about embracing circumstances and enjoying life in all its conditions. That's not to say the characters don't encounter hardships or experience setbacks, but it's more than possible to exit the cinema smiling and cheerful afterwards.
It's entirely understandable why the second most successful French film of all time in France and received wide acclaim in Quebec. But the universal narrative and engaging characters will reach far wider than the French market. Viewers feel almost an instantaneous connection with Philippe and Driss that brings immeasurable enjoyment to watching the movie. It's a filmmaker’s accomplishment not easily attained, and a demonstration of maturity and experience behind the camera. Nakache and Toledano noted that even though they came across the real men's story a decade ago, they decided to wait until they were personally and professionally advanced enough to do it justice.
Cluzet and Sy are exceptional. The role of Driss was tailored for Sy, who brings an energy, humor and likability to his character that immediately endears audiences to him. Cluzet accepts and excels in the challenge of playing Philippe, establishing a personality that transcends his physical limitations - which is apparently true of the real-life basis for the character. The two men have an undeniable chemistry that makes each of their scenes together spark with authenticity.
The Intouchables is a rare sampling of great cinema that shouldn't be missed.
Directors: Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano
Starring: François Cluzet, Omar Sy and Anne Le Ny