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The Intouchables (France, 2011) *****

The Intouchables (France, 2011) *****

The Intouchables, a French comedy-drama film written and directed by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano, is a heart-warmer. Faulted by some film critics for being a crowd-pleaser with a predictable plot, it, much like its main character, doesn't give a damn what others may think. The Intouchables tells the story of a very wealthy quadriplegic named Philippe, wonderfully played by François Cluzet, who hires an unlikely live-in caregiver, a simple street guy with some criminal background, named Driss (superbly performed by Omar Sy). As the story develops, the two characters, who are as different as any two people can be, develop a very sincere friendship and end up inspiring each other while stealing the hearts of the film's audience.
Based on a true story, The Intouchables is well-directed both in terms of pacing and good balance of drama and comedy.
The film starts with a scene that reminds an escape after a bank heist. We don't yet know the characters and are simply drawn into the action. At the film's end the filmmakers repeat that same opening scene; but by then we are well-familiar with the characters' story. It occurred to me that in a sense it is a heist movie, but that rather than a robbery, the subject of the heist is a spirit locked inside the quadriplegic that is set free
At close to two hours, this charmer will make you feel like you wouldn't mind it going even longer.

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