December 1, 2014
“The Intouchables”: A Must See Film
If it has been a while since you’ve completely lost yourself in a film, it is time
you saw “The Intouchables.” This French film tells the story of a wealthy paraplegic,
Philippe, who hires Driss, an edgy man from the projects, to assist him in his daily
routines. Emotional scenes combine with humorous moments to tell an inspiring
true story that is well worth the movie ticket.
The movie begins with Driss, played by Omar Sy, halfheartedly interviewing
for the caregiver position with the sole purpose of getting a signature from the
interviewee in order to receive benefits. Though it is obvious that Driss is
uninterested in the position, Philippe (Françoiz Cluzet) insists that he returns the
next day to pick up his signed paper.
Driss then goes to the apartment where he lives with his aunt and several
cousins after being in jail for months. The stark contrast between Philippe’s
luxurious mansion and Driss’ tiny, cramped apartment is unmistakable. The
juxtaposition becomes most evident in a scene where Driss tries to take a bath in a
bathtub he can hardly fit in. He is surrounded by his younger cousins who won’t
leave him alone and continue to use the hot water to brush their teeth.
The next morning, he returns to Philippe’s mansion to collect his signature,
but is first taken on a tour of the estate. Driss is particularly impressed the
caregiver’s living quarters and is completely captivated by the huge bathtub.
At first, Driss seems to only take the job for the new lifestyle that comes with
it, but his relationship with Philippe develops into a deep friendship. Philippe
teaches Driss about classical music and art appreciation, even inspiring Driss to
create a work of art.
In return, Driss shows Philippe how to live again. When preparing to leave
the mansion, Philippe heads towards a van made for handicapped people. Driss
refuses to get in the van and instead suggests they take the unused Maserati.
Philippe insists that “that one’s less suitable,” but Driss doesn’t take no for an
answer. The two get in the sports car and after revving the engine, Driss’ eyes fill
with amazement and Philippe laughs, as if he had been reminded of the forgotten
thrill of being in the car.
This seems to be a pattern throughout the film. Philippe has been made to
feel like he cannot do many things because of his disability, but Driss reminds his
friend that he is capable of much more than he thinks. Driss, at times, seems
completely ignorant of the fact that Philippe has a handicap at all. For example, Driss
carelessly hands Philippe the phone at one point, and though he obviously could not
hold it by himself, Philippe seemed somehow empowered that someone had
forgotten about his inability to do such a simple thing.
Philippe’s love life is often a topic of conversation. They speak of his first love
before her tragic death. Philippe passionately says, “my real handicap isn’t being in
the chair, it’s living without her.”
Philippe also confides in Driss about his epistolary relationship with a
woman named Eléonore. Through a series of discussions, Driss gives Philippe the
confidence he needs to make the next move in the blossoming romance.
This movie will make you laugh out loud, and it will bring tears to your eyes.
“The Intouchables” tells an inspiring message of hope, regardless of one’s social
class or physical disabilities. The brilliant camera work and a flawless cast convey
the emotionally moving, yet somehow comedic, story of Philippe and Driss.
If you see one film this year, make it “The Intouchables.” It will not disappoint