Without a doubt the finest film of 2012 ( midway through the year). It conquers, surpasses, breaks the barometer of perfection. Based on a true story combining pathos, pain, humor, levity but primarily a portrait of love, acceptance, inclusiveness; it sings and dances joyously to your spirit; rarely do you leave a film feeling enriched, enhanced, a better person because you have been privy, blessed in witnessing the transformative power of friendship; friendship that gloriously transcends race, class, education.
“Philippe”, ( iconic French film star, a Dustin Hoffman lookalike, Francois Cluzet, gives an astounding performance) a member of the French aristocracy is paralyzed from the neck down, hires “Driss” (Omar Sy, a French television notable, flawlessly matched with Cluzet) as his caretaker, a charismatic black man of Senegalese origins. Two disparate individuals, learning to cope and learn from each other, nary a vibe of sycophantism, sensationalism, never sacrificing their individuality but expanding the boundaries of their diametrically contrasting worlds.
Directors Eric Toledano and Oliver Nakache gift audiences an unforgettable, genuine, heart-thrilling study of the human condition; as a viewer you bond, love and most pivotally like these men. Philippe, the philistine, poet, reveling in Revel and Berlioz versus Driss, dancing rhythmically with the style of Fred Astaire, dexterity of Michael Jackson to sinuous lyrics by “Earth, Wind and Fire”.
This is a marriage, partnership where both parties flourish. Driss transforms Philippe’s existence, exposing his frozen body to the lush landscape of France, the curative power of marijuana, strolling the naked avenues of Paris at 4am. Philippe, with unlimited wealth spreads his largess on this boy from the projects; private jets, art world, opera; all synergistic scenes of uproarious humor and unmitigated glee.
“The Intouchables” touches sensitively on the vicissitudes of being completely dependent on another human being; what most of us take for granted eating, bathing, dressing, Philippe, needs, relies on Driss. Brilliantly depicted, without a fraction of bleeding histrionics , these challenges are met without loss of dignity; acceptance, without whining or ruing one’s fate.
I truly loved this rousing, exhilarating, harmonious portrayal of incandescent happiness.