Indie & Foreign

A funny and touching story that doesn’t need a villain to work.

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Who would have thought? This touching, well-acted story of two outsiders who find strength in each other charmed not only its native France, but the whole world. The second most-viewed movie in France history, it subsequently took the world by storm and was seen by more people than even Amelie.

So, what’s Intouchables‘s secret? There are no bad guys here, no dramatic misunderstandings, no scenery-chewing stands. Just a touching human story of dignity and friendship that’s well-written and acted with a lot of passion by its actors. It’s a rare movie that addresses physical handicap in all its complexity, yet doesn’t resort to pity or melodrama.

In other words, it’s magic. And it’s a breath of fresh air after a saturated diet of formulaic Hollywood hero’s journeys.

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The movie has a lot of building to do to establish the friendship between Driss and Philippe, so the flash-forward is a welcome technique to assure us that these two men will come to share a special bond. It’s a fun sequence, filled with Driss’s humor and Philippe’s quiet hunger for adventure, and it instantly connects us to the two men.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Exciting” title=”Driss is more interested in bagging Magalie than landing this job.”/]

It speaks volumes of Philippe’s thirst for respect and adventure that he hires Driss despite his abysmal yet hilarious job interview performance. Their quips over music establishes Driss as a funny but uncultured klutz, and by the way he runs his mouth at Philippe, it’s clear that he doesn’t really give a damn about the man’s handicap. Let’s be honest, here… If you had gone through these interviews, would you have chosen Driss over the others?

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I love, LOVE the way Driss behaves around Philippe. Philippe points this out as the reason he feels alive around Driss: the man forgets that Philippe can’t pick up the phone. He simply doesn’t give a shit. There’s such a simple, coarse dignity in the act. I would never dare do such a thing, yet when I imagine myself in Philippe’s situation, I would also relish the act.

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Haha! I want Driss to like classical music just a little, but it’s hard not to laugh along with him when he mocks the opera singer dressed as a tree and singing in German. That was frickin’ hilarious.

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Dammit, why did Eléonore have to arrive late? I’d decry this as a convenient coincidence for the script, but judging from Yvonne’s reaction, I think Philippe just got cold feet and got out of there before the appointed time.

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In perhaps the film’s funniest moment, and goodness knows there are many of those, Driss listens to a few choice classical music pieces and comments on them from the height of his own ignorance. His reactions and good-humored jabs were belly-aching funny.

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Damn that sweet, hopeful ending that made me shed a manly tear. What a beautiful story of friendship and dignity and redemption for both men. I want to hug everyone involved in making this.

The Intouchables (2011)

Poignant and true, this movie will make you feel joy and friendship without ever pulling cheaply at your heartstrings. It's a beautiful, lighthearted movie that will bring a smile to anyone's face.


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