The Intouchables (2011)
March 8, 2013 1 Comment
It is pretty clear and mostly plausible what brings the two together in spite of Driss’s less than professional job interview. In part by what we might classify as political correctness, everyone else sees Philippe too much as a victim and not enough as a person. Amid this, Driss’s lack of tact is refreshing and turns into a positive what everyone else sees as uncouth behavior typical of “his type.” Philippe will learn how to live again and Driss will learn a bit more about responsibility. This film sounds like and in many ways is exactly as sappy as you might expect, and yet it has the performances to make the material feel less manipulative.
Understanding that things have to be drawn out a bit more to allow for the progression over the course of the movie, one complaint is that Driss remains not just blunt but downright rude far too long to be enjoyable. His boorish behavior goes past unrefined to intolerable in a few spots, especially as it relates to women. His flirtations (what many might call harassments) of Magalie, a fellow employee of Philippe’s, goes from unfortunate to downright groan-worthy. I get that the focus of the film is on the friendship of these two men and that men are often cruder in their private conversations, but it really is over the top and for a film so concerned with how these two other minorities are treated, it seems far less concerned about its female characters, especially Magalie, who is basically groped by the camera on a few occasions.
The lack of restraint in Sy’s performance aside, The Intouchables is so full of warmth that it is hard not to fall for in the end. For each moment that hits false there is one that fully connects. The film excels because of its humanity, even if like humanity it is imperfect.