Movie Review: Intouchables
For lovers of world cinema — particularly French movies — here comes a heartwarming tale — not to mention, dubbed in English — with all its various non-lingual elements well intact. Constantly bordering on the verge of feel-goodness, Intouchables is an honest attempt to dilute the racial and class divide prevalent in our so-called modern society. Though the narrative appeals more to the Gallic multicultural complexities, the tone is pretty much universal.
Based on a true story, it explores an unlikely bonding between a paralyzed French aristocrat (François Cluzet) and his immigrant caretaker (Omar Sy) who is not only an ex-con but also someone who clearly doesn’t qualify for the job in the first place. As the film rolls on, he ends up accomplishing way more than he is expected to. And effortlessly teaches his rich boss some tricks in the art of living.
The most admirable part about this friendship is it lacks formal sympathy and grows on mutual respect. This attitude also allows humour to crystallise. Yes, some moments do hinge on blatant stereotypes but fits well within its almost two-hour canvas.
Given the paraplegic nature of the protagonist, this drama might remind you of Amenábar’s The Sea Inside or Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Having said that, Intouchables carries a far too lighter cross on its shoulder and avoids microscoping on unfairness. Come to think of which, it drags the audiences away from reality with an aim to arouse passion, not compassion. Without an able cast, this approach would have fallen flat on its cinematic nose.
Despite having nothing else but a face to express, Cluzet does a brilliant job on his vulnerable wheelchair. Complementing his efforts, Sy initially comes out as somebody who wouldn’t care less before transforming himself into one of the most affable characters to ever grace the big screen. The supporting cast is admirable except when they are dancing!
The script written by the two sharp directors cleverly balances giggles with sentiments and avoids going over the top which is a common drawback of movies with a similar backdrop. Intouchables seems like a bridge between black and white but on a closer observation, it’s pointing to that grey shade called life.
Here’s the spoiler: In all probability, you’ll be touched by this film. And in the meantime, you’ll also wonder why isn’t it in French.