The Critic – The Intouchables

I have seen very few foreign films, the one that I can think of off the top of my head isn’t even foreign as it was filmed in Quebec and Ontario, I’m sure I’ve seen some other than that but Bon Cop Bad Cop is the only one that comes to me right now. I got advanced screening tickets to this movie from a friend of my mother’s at her work, we get them quite frequently and I really enjoy being able to see movies before they are released that, most of the time, I probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise. The movie started and about a minute into it the first bit of dialogue came up, in French as expected, but what wasn’t expected was that there were no subtitles, that was kind of concerning as I speak less French than a new-born baby. After about 30 minutes into the movie and about 20 people leaving the theatre, a full theatre mind you, so it wasn’t that big of a deal, they got the subtitles up and running and they restarted the movie for us. And boy was it one great movie,  those people who walked out missed easily one of my new favouite movies.

The Intouchables is based on a true story of a quadriplegic billionaire and the relationship he forms with his aid, this film is, very much so, a bromance. The story is pretty basic, a man who isn’t all that well off, Driss, is trying to get his paper signed with one last signature saying that the employer wasn’t interested in him or the like so that he can collect his benefits and have money from the government, the last place he ends up is in the estate of the quadriplegic billionaire who is, at that time, looking for an aid. The aids job would be rather basic, stretching his legs and arms, bathing, dressing, and just generally watching out for his well-being. Driss comes into the interview and slams down the paper and straight asks for the signature, the impression he gives in the following few minutes make it so that Philippe wants him to come back the next day at 9 to start as his aid. Philippe makes a bet with Driss that he won’t last two weeks on the job.

The movie then begins to show us their time together, Driss moves in from after being kicked out of the apartment he was staying in with his family and the two men bond in a very strange way that you would not expect a well off billionaire to with a guy who grew up, it seems, on the streets in a harsher part of  France. Throughout the movie you get tastes of two men and how they treat each other and they become very close friends, at one point Philippe says that Driss is exactly what he is looking for, someone who wouldn’t take pity on him. He says that it makes him feel more like a person with Driss being his caretaker because some times Driss will “hand the phone to me because he forgets” and to Philippe that means the world.

At its heart this movie is a comedy bromance flick, there are some incredibly funny scenes in the movie and some very heartfelt ones, most of the time they happen at the same time. Two scenes really stick out in my mind from this film that show what this movie really was and how these two men bonded. About midway of the movie they are celebrating Philippe’s birthday and there is live orchestrated music being played during it, at the end of the party Philippe and Driss are sitting by the band and Philippe asks the band to play a section from Four Seasons, trying to introduce Driss to the type of music that he listens to, and Driss does not know the song or feel anything while the song is playing. Philippe gets to the band to play multiple songs and the whole time Driss is just making wise cracks about the music, but this isn’t bothering Philippe as he is laughing right along with Driss, then it’s Driss’ turn to show him some “real music”. He plugs in his iPod and plays Earth, Wind, and Fire and gets the whole crowed dancing while Philippe is just sitting there laughing.

The second of these scenes is at almost the very end of the movie, Driss has come back to be with Philippe after leaving to deal with some family stuff that has gone on and Philippe has grown a beard, a really scraggly beard. Driss trims the beard and goes through multiple different variations of possible facial hair, from Hulk Hogan’s handlebar mustache to a nice little Hitler mustache. This scene is just brought to life by these two actors and is just one great example of how well these two did on-screen together, and I’m sure just a sample of what the real life Philippe and Driss meant to each other.

I loved everything about this movie, as I said it is easily now one of my favourite movies, it was just so great and so funny. There was nothing about this movie I did not like, the acting was great, the story was really fun to watch unfold and the music was spectacular. The blend of classical music and more modern music was artfully done and there was this one absolutely haunting piano piece that I can’t stop listening to that was played throughout the movie, listen to it and watch the video, there are some really great screencaps from the film. There is a link to the YouTube video HERE.

Everyone needs to see this movie, Justin has his list of movies that you have to watch or you can’t be friends with him and this is easily one of mine, probably the first of mine. Yes it is subtitled and that might paint some of you uninterested but don’t let it scare you away and rob you of a chance to see this absolutely amazing film. Check it out, I’m not sure when it comes out here in Canada, I know it was released in May in the States and it probably won’t get a wide release up here but if you catch it on TV one day or see it at the movie store, grab it up and get ready to have a great time.

The Intouchables: 9/10


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