Untouchable (Les Intouchables)

This is the film the French are really proud of, and rightly so.  Some critics have panned this movie as overly safe, and not challenging the issues and stereotypes that need to be challenged. It ignored them, or dealt with them in a way that said we do not consider this a problem.  American critics have been overly sensitive to the race issue; poor black man working for a rich white man. The Parisians would probably see it as a guy on benefit, needing to have a paper signed who ends up with the job he did not expect.This movie is simply about two people who despite, or perhaps because of their differences become friends.

We should not look for issues, where there are none. Indeed, I think central to this movie is the very noble though that, we as humans are all to be treated with the same respect regardless of colour, race, wealth, background.  Sure we see people from different backgrounds trying to adjust to the lives they currently live, but we see them succeeding.

T his is not a movie which sets out to challenge us and force us to live good and decent lives being nice to all of those about us.  This is a movie about some fundamentally decent people who happen to hit off a mutually beneficial friendship which provides us with a very rewarding movie along the way.

In many ways this is a road movie as out two heroes Driss (Omar Sy, Micmacs 2009- Sy won France’s César Award for Best Actor, 2011, ahead of Jean Dujardin in the Artist – see below) and Philippe (François Cluzet, Tell No One, 2006)  an extremely rich  quadriplegic who needs a new carer.  Philippe is restless and sees something, a spark, in Driss which intrigues him.  Philippe’s other staff eventually warm to Driss and friendships are formed when all realise he has his employers best interests at heart.  Never trained as a carer there are moments of great humour as his new duties unfold.  As with his discovery of his living quarters, the luxury contrasts with the crowded squalor from which he came.

This movie does not set out to change the world. If it has a perceived failing it is that it may lead some people to think that was its aim. However if you sit back and let the journey unfold, travel with them you will be rewarded with some great urban cinematography as well as great areal gliding shots.

This movie is nothing more than a well made light hearted comedy, there are no hidden agendas. It is based, so the credits say on a true story. This I can believe because only a true story of two people crossing paths could generate a further story with no particular aim other than to retell the history of their relationship.

The use of genuine situational comedy is excellent we are almost in tears looking at scenes, which in another context would never have come near provoking a laugh. Driss’s thoughts on modern art, together with his attempts to engage with the same are smartly used to culminate in a second joke, Philippe is able to poke fun at his society friends and in the course of events do the right thing.

Rating 9/10, it is not perfect, after all there were a couple of shots where Sy, was hanging off the dolly-grip, some careful editing might have avoided them, also, a slight pet hate – the sub-titles should actually translate what was being said rather than add a particular English (or American ) turn of phrase. The context of the wording does not always works ( I say does not always work, I only noticed the differences a few times and it only jarred once.

Go see this movie – no ifs, buts, ands or maybes, just go and watch it, enjoy it. This movie is France’s second highest ever grossing film and is the French nomination for Best Foreign Film at next year’s Oscars; there is a reason for these two events.

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