By Alisha Coelho
'The Intouchables' has none of the frou-frou we've come to expect from the movies. The male leads don't look like underwear models. There's no 3D. There aren't any glitzy sets and while the movie does open with a scene of the characters driving around in a Maserati, it's not exactly a glamourous situation since the passenger who's called shotgun is paralysed from neck down.
This is not to say that the movie doesn't have you hooked from the start. Good performances set this adaption of real-life events apart and while these sort of cinematic re-tellings can turn out unbelievably sappy and unbearable (think 'The Vow'), 'The Intouchables' balances things out nicely.
What's it about?
Phillipe (Francois Cluzet) is left paralysed after a paragliding accident and is looking a caretaker. He finds a unlikely candidate in Driss (Omar Sy), who lives in a poor project housing colony and only wants Phillipe to sign his rejection slip so that he can receive unemployment benefits. Phillipe takes a liking to Driss' 'pragmatic' approach and hires him on trial for a month. Driss is initially unwilling to take up the job but is left with no option when his mother turns him out of their home. The two men become the unlikeliest of friends and then help each other resolve their personal conflicts.
The set up first seems very like that seen before in 'The Scent of A Woman', but there's no Good cop-Bad cop role play. Both Driss and Phillipe are bitter, reckless and have raging libidos. Sy is likeable enough but it is Cluzet who packs in the best performance as he expresses rage, desire, helplessness, grief and happiness using only the 52 muscles in his face.
If there's one problem we have with the movie, it is that it is dubbed in English and the nuances of conversational tones are missed. We'd have far preferred to watch it in French (with subtitles, of course) rather than hear the dialogues spoken in highly exaggerated Yank accents.
What to do?
This minor grouse apart, 'The Intouchables' is funny and endearing - a movie that will leave you with a warm feeling in your chest on a cold, wet, rainy day.
in.com rating: 4/5
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