I saw The Intouchables last weekend, a French film which I’ve been meaning to catch for a long time. And I’m so glad I did! It was one of the sweetest, funniest, most heartwarming movies I’ve seen in ages and Omar Sy was fantastic in it.
The Intouchables is based on the real-life story of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and his caretaker Abdel Sellou. It’s the story of a wealth, privileged quadriplegic and his caretaker, the irreverent immigrant, ‘Driss’, who treats Philippe (the character has the same name in the movie) as another person, rather than with pity for his disability. Omar Sy plays the role of Driss perfectly and is the source of most of the laughs in this movie as he constantly pokes fun at his disabled charge, but never in a malicious way (‘Where can you find a quadriplegic? Where you left him!’). In fact, pity is the last thing Philippe wants, as is outlined in the movie and also in an article with the real-life Philippe Pozzo di Borgo.
Humor is the backbone of The Intouchables, made bittersweet by the bond that forms between Philippe and Driss, as well as the obstacles both face in their lives (Driss’s life growing up raised by his aunt and her many children, and dealing with his troubled cousin/’brother’; Philippe’s struggle to deal with his handicap and the phantom pains he suffers at night). The jokes flow smoothly and Sy never goes overboard to get cheap laughs. It’s easy to see why the film has received the rave reviews it has (with Sy winning the Cesar Award for Best Actor, the first black actor to do so) and it seems that a Hollywood remake is in the works, with Colin Firth rumored to play the part of Philippe.