Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Intouchables

The French make some great films, but when I think of "French cinema" I often have images of snobbery or artistic-sometimes-inaccessible films. That is not the type of film that The Intouchables is. The film directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano was released late in 2011 in France and has become one of France's biggest box office successes, won many awards and nominations, and is in general just a big French hit.
The Intouchables is a comedy drama that seems like many popular American Comedy dramas. In fact, it generally seems very American, and if made in the US would likely have been a success here as well. I mean, the lead actors could have been played by Robert De Niro and Derek Luke, since...well, when I first saw the cover that's who I thought starred in the film.

The film, based on a true story, is about a wealthy quadriplegic man in search of a caregiver who hires a young troubled man who interviewed simply to evidence an effort applying for a job so that he could get his government benefit.

The film is very comedic, and very heartwarming. One of the things that you'll notice in the pictures selected for this post or any pictures for this film is that the characters are smiling. That's because most of the film they're having fun and learning how to experience life together. Lead actors Fran├žois Cluzet and Omar Sy do an incredible job at becoming these interesting and believable characters.

One of the main messages of this film is that the quadriplegic character, Phillipe is still a person who can experience life despite his physical limitations.

There's hilarious scenes in the juxtaposition of the two characters who are different in so many ways: life, socioeconomic class, music interest, interest and everything in between. Yet, it's not just a "look I like classical music and you like dance music" type of film (although this scene is very funny), but it's the way that they comedy continues to unroll in new ways through the whole film, in surprising and unsurprising ways such as the opening scene where they fake a need for hospitalization to get out of a traffic ticket.

I think this is a really great film, and one that many people could enjoy. It's good to watch a film where people find joy and happiness despite their circumstances and that people who normally wouldn't connect find community together with one another in powerful and meaningful ways.

This film is one of the top 250 films I recently mentioned I had not seen, glad I have now seen it. 

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