So, a friend recommended this next film and my rule of thumb is, “if I haven’t heard of it, it’s probably great.” This rings true especially for foreign films. And, as my movie snob circle dwindles down to myself and the Internet, I thought I’d take this opportunity to see something new.
Now I love unlikely friends and this odd couple had me laughing and crying all the way through. A French film, Intouchables is based on the true story of a wealthy tetraplegic and his lower-class, live-in caregiver. Told in flashback style, the story reflects well upon the current divide between extreme political correctness and total apathy.
A heartwarming (and funny!) film you won’t want to miss!
“…étrange et symbolique”
It’s a story that’s been told time and again: wrong side of the tracks meets rich and powerful; improbable friends beat the odds. And yet, Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano make this story their own as they recreate the narrative in Intouchables.
François Cluzet stars as Philippe, a tetraplegic who takes a chance on Driss (Omar Sy), an unemployed caregiver interviewee destined to get his welfare papers signed – not a job. The film demonstrates the huge gap between rich and poor yet highlights the social advantages gained in learning from the other, as evidenced through the developing friendship of Philippe and Driss. While I’m not familiar with the true story (and I’m sure being a live-in caregiver to a tetraplegic is far more challenging, but), Intouchables provides a rose-coloured image of the reality that disabilities can empower.
The film incorporates the typical shaky-cam effects to create a visually realistic environment. The technique, while highly popularized, does have a strong effect and enhances the grittiness of Driss’ poor neighbourhood. The film’s flashback scenarios all divulge at the climax, but I was pleasantly surprised by the effective use of cuts to remind viewers without replaying the whole scene (I really don’t like that…).
If my readers are familiar with my tastes at all, they’ll be glad to hear my delight in this classical-music-laced score. An instrumental score can certainly do wonders for the imagination and emotions! A scene in particular where Philippe arranges a symphony all-request hour in attempts to please Driss’ ears featured some favourite classical pieces that, again, worked to further the social gaps.
The characters played off each other well with Sy shining in his role. He incorporated interesting instances of character acting, particularly in my favourite scene when they are at the opera. The curtain rises to expose the opera star, a giant, singing tree – which causes Driss’ jaw to drop in this humorous scene. And, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thoroughly entertained by Sy’s dancing scene.
Intouchables appeals to a wide audience with comedic, dramatic and tearjerking moments. It even included some action in the opening car-chase scenes, so I might be able to convince some otherwise hesitant viewers. Restoring faith in the good of people and demonstrating the power of friendship, this feel-good film is inspiring and worth the search it may take you to find a French-language film (we critics need more film resources!). Anyway,
*Image courtesy of tribute.ca