The Intouchables (2011) Review

Based on a true story, The Intouchables is a French comedy-drama focusing on Philippe (François Cluzet, Tell No One, À L’Origine), a quadriplegic millionaire who looks for a live-in carer, and finds Driss (Omar Sy, Micmacs, X-Men: Days of Future Past), an ex-con who comes from the poorer districts of Paris.

Touching and funny, The Intouchables gives a humorous look at different social issues, ranging from living with paralysis to the divide between rich and poor. This is done brilliantly by the contrasting characters of Philippe and Driss, portrayed magnificently by Cluzet and Sy. The old and clichéd formula of two completely different characters that dislike each other at first, but grow to become friends, is refreshed with a distinctly French tone.

François Cluzet and Omar Sy

François Cluzet and Omar Sy

The film is peppered with a mixture of subtle jokes and physical comedy, woven masterfully by the two leads. But at times, I found that they went over my head. This is probably because of the cultural differences between the film and my own, but I still felt I was missing out. This didn’t happen often, but regularly enough for me to notice.

Also at times, it tries to cover too many social issues and as a result spreads itself too thin. It would have been better if it had just concentrated on the disability or class divides, but it gets bloated and weighed down when it tries to comment on gang culture and parenting. And the intense focus on the two leads is also part of its undoing. To call the rest of the cast underdeveloped is an understatement, meaning that I found it hard to sympathise with the problems of Driss’ cousin and Philippe’s adopted daughter.

Taken as a whole, The Intouchables is an endearingly enjoyable feel-good film. It’s not perfect, but worth watching thanks to the performances of Sy and Cluzet alone.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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