Thanks to Danny’s impulse, we drove to the Bijou last night for dinner and a wonderful movie, “The Intouchables.” The only bad part was trying to eat in the dark; amazingly, I didn’t adorn my clothes with bits of salad or carrot cake…
Based on a true story, “The Intouchables” makes you smile from head to toe and is totally engaging. Though you have to read subtitles for this French film, it is extraordinarily touching, humorous, and enjoyable.
Philippe (Francois Cluzet) is an aristocrat, widower, inattentive father, and quadriplegic in need of live-in care. The huge, ornate hallway outside the study in his lavish mansion is lined with many applicants for the position. Only one, Driss (Omar Sy), a young man from the projects, is not qualified or actually looking for work; however, Philippe chooses him precisely for that reason. Driss is unsure, until he is shown his fancy room and huge bath, one which he does not have to share with anybody else, and agrees to a one-month trial. And trial it is, for Philippe can do nothing but talk and turn his head. He spends his days in a wheelchair that he mobilizes with his chin. Driss has to bathe, dress, feed, attend to his bodily functions, massage/move his four useless limbs, and monitor his sleep.
After a few mishaps, they reach the one-month mark and we realize they are good for each other and becoming soul friends. Driss teaches Philippe how to live again despite his restrictions; Philippe teaches Driss about art and music. Enrichment flows both ways and laughter is the best medicine. Cussing isn’t absent, but it’s in French, so who cares!
Also part of the household, besides Marcelle, a typical teenage daughter, and necessary servants, are the housekeeper, Yvonne (delightfully played by Anne Le Ny) and Magalie (Audrey Fleurot), Philippe’s secretary, an alluring redhead completely uninterested in the more-than-interested Driss. Yvonne approves of Driss before Magalie does. A useful man with lots to offer, despite his upbringing, Driss manages to readjust Marcelle’s attitude and lovelife, as well.
When family troubles require Driss to leave, Philippe lets himself go and refuses to let anyone near him. No one seems capable of caring for him like Driss and, after hiring/firing several attendants, a worried Yvonne calls Driss to come back. Although his return is exactly what Philippe needs, Driss cures the older man’s sad heart in a much better and more permanent way.
“The Intouchables” is why we go to the movies – excellent writing and superb acting. Get a clue Hollywood!
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.