MIFF: The Intouchables

Easy to see why this crowd-pleaser proved box office gold in its home country.

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There probably couldn’t have been a better film with which to end MIFF than this delightful piece from French writer/director duo, Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, who adapted the screenplay from the memoir You Changed My Life.

When large, unemployed Frenchman Driss (Omar Sy, Micmacs) is released from a six-month stint in prison for robbery, he has to at least look like he’s trying to get work, in order to get on welfare. Kicked out of his family home, Driss applies for a job advertised by Philippe (François Cluzet), a rich paraplegic man whose Paris apartment looks like something Mary Antoinette couldn’t have afforded. Philippe recognises that Driss – a brash, loud, disrespectful lover of life – is the only applicant likely not to bore him to death. And indeed, Driss’s insensitive, dramatic, no holds barred approach to caring for his employer gives the older man a new lease on life.

The performances in this cliché-breaking, soul gratifying film are of the kind that allow you to pretend you’re not watching a movie. Cluzet is able to do everything with his eyes that Sy is able to do with every part of his body – and it seems that Sy indeed uses every muscle: hopping, yelling and bursting onto the screen as if he were born with more life than everyone else (Sy won the French César award for best actor over The Artist’s Jean Dujardin.) This is a French masterpiece that, like Amour before it, you simply must see this year.

 

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