Omar Sy and Francois Cluzet star in The Intouchables. Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano direct this true life dramedy where friendship rekindles the lives of a wealthy paraplegic and an urban survivor.
Now playing in North American theaters, The Intouchables is based on the book You Changed My Life, Abdel Sellou’s memoir about his relationship with the disabled aristocrat Philippe Pozzo di Borgo.
Odd couple finds adventure
Driss (Sy) is hired to assist Philippe (Cluzet) who was paralyzed after a para-glider accident. Sy is funny and vivacious as a con man who loves life despite years of poverty and struggle.
Cluzet is marvelously understated as a wounded adventurer filled with romantic longing. Philippe wants to savor life and abhors pretense. This prompts him to hire the unlikely assistant.
Driss’ bold antics and in-your-face honesty open hearts as he stirs up the proper household. This role won Sy Best Actor at the Cesar Awards.
Daring to live again
Driss treats Philippe to a high-speed Maserati trip through Paris. When police stop them, he feigns outrage as his boss fakes a seizure.
Embracing his own wildness, Driss inspires Philippe. The film is fascinating and never becomes trite or sentimental.
Several turning points mark the characters’ growth. Philippe corresponds passionately with a woman he has never met. Driss insists that the two get together. Later, Philippe introduces Driss to para-gliding.
The men transcend class as they find common ground.
Creating remarkable moments
In a remarkable moment, Philippe allows Driss to leave his position so he can supervise a wayward young cousin. Philippe begins to languish. No one can replace Driss.
The real-life characters appear in the end titles. Algerian immigrant Sellou and French aristocrat Pozzo di Borgo remain longtime friends.
The Intouchables / 2011 / R / 1 hour, 42 min
Cast Overview: Francois Cluzet, Omar Sy, Anne Le Ny, Audrey Fleurot, Clotilde Mollet, Alba Gaia Bellugi, Cyril Mendi, Cyril Mendi, Christian Ameri
Directors: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Languages: French with English subtitles
Genres: Drama, Comedy