<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano. Starring François Cluzet, Omar Sy.
The trailer of this successful French film was charming and funny. What put me off when watching it though was the horrible dubbing in English, which don’t even match the subtitling. But it still manages to make an enjoyable watch.
The Intouchables has earned more than $300 million worldwide (excluding the US), which is a record for a foreign-language movie. Leading man Omar Sy has won a Cesar Award for Best Actor (the first Black actor to ever do so). If you watch the trailer in French with appropriate subtitles you’ll see why one would fall in love with this picture. It is a buddy movie but the charm of the French and the raw playfulness of it all is something you wouldn’t find in a Hollywood film.
Supposed to be based on a real story, The Intouchables is about Philippe (François Cluzet), a wealthy white man who is paralysed from the neck down after a paragliding accident. He now needs a Man Friday to assist him in his work and life, as it is. Passing on several dubious applicants, Philippe chooses a more ‘real’ person called Driss (Omar Sy), a Black man with a history of crime, to be his support.
At first the down and out Driss is elated with his newfound surroundings but soon realises he has to take care of a man incapable of having a bath and emptying his own bowels (a funny conversation ensues regarding that). He has his fun, emptying out teapot of hot water on Philippe’s leg, to no effect. Philippe says, ‘Are you done experimenting?’ The willingness of Philippe to allow this stranger in to his life and secede some of his old views and inhibitions is what allows their bond to develop.
Against the background of Driss’s warped family life and Philippe’s longing for a love beyond love letters, The Intouchables is a tale of friendship and revival. They both learn to live from each other.
Okay, so now let me say, dubbing this film in English was the worst mistake ever. The PR guy said well if it was in French only 100 people would watch it, which perhaps is true. But the dubbing is a bit jarring at first and doesn’t always capture the true meaning of the moment. The film comes with subtitles that don’t match the dubbing since they may not have been suitable for the lip sync. So that’s a bit distracting. Go watch it anyway; it’s funny if a bit too long (at 2 hours).