Films can be a blockbuster success without having been made inside the studio system of Hollywood. "The Intouchables" is a heartfelt story of an unexpected friendship that develops from some of the most unlikely of circumstances.
“The Intouchables” tells the true story of a wealthy, physically disabled risk taker, the picture of established French nobility (Francois Cluzet), who lost his wife in an accident and whose world is turned upside down when he hires a young, good-humored, black ex-con (Omar Sy) as his caretaker. Their bond proves the power and omniscience that love and friendship can hold over all social and economic differences.
At its heart, this is a very nice movie…unfortunately it is also pretty forgettable. Based on a true story, co-writers/directors Nakache & Toledano have crafted a pleasant diversion that is a little different from the standard variety. It is a buddy comedy that is surprisingly charming, but overtly blunt as they lean on the formulaic aspects of the story. It tries to force the themes of class warfare and race which may play better overseas, but for North American audiences it’s awkward and forced. It's well shot and moves at a decent enough clip with characters that are compelling but not terribly well drawn out, and the film is ultimately saved from being a completely maudlin and forced dramedy by two strong performances from our two leading men.
Cluzet & Sy have excellent chemistry together and their interplay make for some excellent back and forth as they each learn more about each other. Cluzet is a veteran French actor who knows how to command the screen and grab and audience's attention, while Sy has a very likeable leading man charm about him. It was all entertaining, and we can't help but get behind all these characters but it’s so deliberately light that the shameless pandering of it all gets a little bit distracting. Fun but none of it really ever sticks with you.
“The Intouchables” feels like a very standard run of the mill movie, as stories like this have been done before, but the interplay between Cluzet and Sy at least make it enjoyable to watch.
3 out of 5 stars.
"The Intouchables" is now available to rent on DVD & Blu-Ray at video stores everywhere as well as via all major on demand services. You can also find it available for purchase at all major retailers like HMV, iTunes or amazon.ca.