Heartwarming French film proves not so ‘intouchable’
“The Intouchables,” a French film originally released overseas in 2011, is one of the most inspirational films to come out in recent years. Though it is peppered with moments of sadness, most scenes have some hilarity to them and make the viewing experience worthwhile.
While it’s not a standard Hollywood-style soap, it still contains a lot of heart that leaves the viewer with a sense of optimism.
One could hardly imagine two people more different than the main characters. Driss is a poorly-educated former criminal from a dysfunctional family, and Philippe is a wealthy man who became a paraplegic after a severe accident. Philippe is depressed, moody and very picky in choosing a caretaker for himself. Still, he is admired by Driss’ ability to make fun of everything, his careless sense of humor and tomfoolery.
When Philippe chose Driss to be his caretaker, his friend warns him that Driss is a former criminal and, as he thinks, ex-convicts do not know compassion. But, Philippe says he does not need compassion and that he favors the fact that Driss often forgets about Philippe’s condition. While Driss can appear childish at times, the viewer will feel relieved to see Philippe laughing and will even laugh with him too. Any embarrassing emotions you may feel will fade away with the funnier moments of the film, and there are many. For example — when Philippe, an art connoisseur, buys an expensive picture of modern art, Driss decides that it would make for good business and proceeds to draw his own picture several hours later. You can’t keep from smiling after seeing how Philippe sells this work of a “debutant artist who has exhibitions in Rome and Berlin” for several thousand euro and how it makes Driss excited. The hilarious, genuine and wholehearted nature of the friendship leads to Phillippe finding meaning in life once again.
Another thing to note about the film is the fact that it’s based on a true story. French businessman Philippe Pozzo di Borgo became paralyzed and later lost his wife to a terminal illness, but he was saved from his own depression because of the Algerian ex-criminal Abdel Yasmin Sellou, who became his caretaker and a friend. In his memoir, “You Changed My Life”, Sellou tells how they both influenced each others lives. Both individuals now have their own families and live in different countries, but visit each other and remain good friends.
This is a film that I would recommend to anyone. If you feel the need to restore your belief in humanity, watch the touching story of “The Intouchables.”