We’ve all seen this kind of story before: rich, cultured person gets new perspective on life after meeting a poor, down-on-his-luck, streetwise person. And that effect goes both ways. This is one of those movies.
And, in a few cases, movies like this have been made based on true stories. This is also one of those movies.
Plus, we’ve seen French films. This is also one of those movies.
I give you today’s review: Intouchables.
Based on the true story of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and his caregiver Abdel Sellou, Intouchables looks at the odd-couple relationship between Philippe and Driss.
Philippe is wealthy, has a staff of people to help him, and is a quadriplegic as the result of a paragliding accident. His beloved wife died before they were able to have kids, and so they adopted a child, who is proving to be a difficult teenager.
Driss is kicked out of the home where his aunt and several of her kids live because he periodically goes missing for a while. With a prison record, though, he’s sure his prospects are limited, but goes looking for jobs at least to get his paper signed to continue receiving welfare benefits.
He shows up for an interview as a caregiver for Philippe, explains that he doesn’t expect them to hire him, and that he just needs his paper signed. But Philippe tells him that he’ll give him a chance, and if it doesn’t work out, the paper will get signed so he can keep getting his benefits.
Of course, the relationship clicks. Driss shows Philippe how to really live, in spite of his health issues, they share their respective art and music interests, and begin to become friends in addition to being reliant on each other. In the meantime, Driss discovers that Philippe has been in a correspondence relationship with a woman from Dunkirk and encourages him to call and meet her, but Philippe is resistant because of his condition and his money. Driss eventually convinces Philippe to arrange a meeting with the woman, and he goes, but gets cold feet and leaves before she arrives.
But with Driss living in Philippe’s mansion, one of his cousins comes to him seeking help because he’s in trouble with a gang. Philippe releases Driss and tells him to go and help his family, but while Driss is gone, Philippe stops letting his new caretaker care for him. Then one of his assistants calls Driss for help. Driss arrives and takes Philippe for a drive, ending up at an oceanside hotel, where Driss cleans him up and takes him to a dinner with the woman, thus completing the circle of each giving to the other by recognizing the need to care for their family and those they love.
Have we seen this before? Absolutely. Is there anything really different about this movie? Not really. But is it well done and funny and poignant? Yes. It’s a light and easy story, and in a short time, you really grow to like both characters in spite of their flaws and imperfections because you recognize that in spite of their flaws, they’re good, genuine people.
Four out of Five Stars.
See you tomorrow.