Bob and Justin's Mad Movie Blog

My name is Bob. My friend Justin and I are aspiring filmmakers and we have pretty similar tastes in movies. This will include our take on what's going on in film and television today as well as updating you on the status of our own work.

Friday, June 08, 2012

The Intouchables

It's not often that I can label a film as having universal appeal. Just looking at some of my favorite films of last year ("The Artist," "Drive," "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"), it's clear that while I love them they're not for everyone. "The Intouchables" however, is that rare movie that I truly believe will be loved by everyone who sees it. Philippe (Francois Cluzet) is a wealthy and intelligent Parisian, but a widower who is paralyzed from the neck down. He has had difficulty maintaining a caretaker for longer than a month at a time and he is interviewing a long line of new applicants who are either inexperienced or view Philippe as though he is beneath them mentally. Tired of waiting in line, Driss (Omar Sy), a young man of Senegalese descent, storms into the room and instantly he is like a breath of fresh air to Philippe. Not because Driss is experienced or eager to get the position. In fact the only reason Driss has shown up to interview is so that he can keep getting unemployment benefits. He also openly flirts with Philippe's assistant Magalie (Audrey Fleurot). But Phillipe knows that the muscular Driss will be able to take care of him physically and just as importantly, Driss will never talk down to him. Driss is initially reluctant to accept the job but having been kicked out of his aunt's house and with a short prison term on his record he really has nowhere else to go. Given a one month trial period, Driss finds living in a Parisian mansion to be to his liking, but more importantly he comes to care for Phillipe and the two bond not over their similiarities (of which there are few), but their differences. Love, music, family, art, and cars are but a few of the things these two men debate and learn new things about from each other. Written and directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, "The Intouchables" is based on the memoir "You Changed My Life" by Abdel Sellou. As its opening scene unfolded and I laughed along as its filmmakers intended I knew that this movie and I were on the same wavelength. It's a feel good movie that earns our affections rather than manipulating us, thanks in part to moments such as Driss playfully mocking Philippe's handicap, which Philippe thoroughly enjoys. The filmmaking is gentle but brimming with life and Sy and Cluzet have magnificent chemistry. The building of their unlikely friendship is absolutely believable and we feel every laugh and moment of heartbreak with them. "The Intouchables" is a beautifully made film that I will recommend to anyone and everyone. It is in French with English subtitles. If you write this movie off because you're the sort of person who doesn't "like to read when I watch movies," then you are missing out my friend. Get over it for at least of a couple of hours and enjoy this heartfelt and thoroughly wonderful movie. In the Seattle area it is currently playing at the Metro, Pacific Place, and Bellevue's Lincoln Square. 9/10.


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