The Intouchables, directed by Olivier Nakache, was a huge box-office hit, in France. The film is based on a true story about Philippe (Francois Cluzet) who is an aristocrat with loads of money who is also quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down in a para-gliding accident and is white and his caretaker Driss (Omar Sy), who is an ex-con, out on parole for robbery, and is black. Against the advise of all concerned, Philippe makes a decision to hire Driss, precisely because he “has no pity” and Driss does not disappoint.
Driss is unabashedly unapologetic, refreshingly irreverent, and treats Phillipe as his equal and a friend, rather than a quadriplegic and someone to be pitied on. At the same time, he learns to care for Phillipe and even learns kindness, in the process. He is a caretaker who takes his duties less seriously but instead becomes a caring companion. I wonder how many people with physical challenges must miss the companionship, more than the care-taking. The film is also refreshing in that despite the most tragic subject matter, it is a light hearted comedy of Driss’s leg pulling and jokes, Phillipe’s romantic love with a woman merely through letters initially, and Driss’s constant inclination to swerve outside the boundaries of what may be legal or appropriate. Above all it is a heart-warming story of deep bond and affection between two men, who depend on one another, have fun, and make each other laugh. On a scale of 1-5 with 5 being excellent, I rate it 4.5.