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‘The Intouchables’: Snubbed by the Academy, but who cares?

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Driss (Omar Sy) and Phillippe (François Cluzet) in a scene from the movie “The Intouchables”.

I was late to watch The Intouchables, but I have to write about it, because it’s one of the best movies of 2012 (despite it being released in France the year before). Even if it was snubbed by the Academy, what’s most important is that The Intouchables exists and I’m sure tons of people watch it and spread the word about how amazing it is. The directing by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano is flawless, and so is the script, which focuses on the relationship between Phillippe (a quadriplegic aristocrat) and his caretaker Driss (a Senegalese immigrant from the Parisian ‘projects’).

It might seem like a story you’ve heard before, of people from different worlds crossing paths and changing each others’ lives, but what sets The Intouchables apart from the rest is the way the story is told. The actors playing the two protagonists, Omar Sy (Driss) and François Cluzet (Phillippe) are incredible. They compliment each other so well as actors and, as such, so do their characters. At the same time, though, there is a sense of individuality. Driss and Phillippe do come from opposing realities and deal with unique problems in their lives but, at the end of the day, they understand each other. People that have known them for years, on the other hand, seem unable to get through to them.

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Driss and Phillippe at an art gallery; one of my favorite scenes in “The Intouchables”.

I can’t help comparing The Intouchables to Oscar-winner for Foreign Language Film, Amour, which admittedly I’m not a huge fan of. Both films deal with similar themes, the most obvious being caring for a debilitated person. Watching Amour was like looking through a magnifying glass at a married couple as they face their final days and deal with the inevitable – death. Although I do appreciate realism in film, Amour is nothing more than a detailed representation of love through suffering. And that’s not all love is. The movie should’ve been titled 1/4 Amour or something along those lines.

The Intouchables, on the other hand, gives us the big picture. No, the story isn’t told in excruciating detail. It’s light and comedic, but so is lifeThe film is about friendship and a philosophy of life that doesn’t involve over-analyzing or over-thinking.

Like I said, an Oscar nomination or win was undoubtedly deserved, but wouldn’t make a difference in the long-run. The Intouchables will be remembered long after Amour.

If you haven’t watched it yet, please do.

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