A Life-Affirming Message
Release Date: May 25, 2012
Audience: Older teenagers to adults
Runtime: 112 minutes
Distributor: The Weinstein Co.
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The movie opens with a black man driving a paralyzed, bearded white man through traffic. The black man starts driving faster and faster. When a police siren appears behind them, the black man bets the passenger that he can evade the police. The man agrees, but this is easier said than done. The police block their way and demand the driver come out with his hands up. The black man bets the other man another 200 Euros that he can convince the police to give them an escort. The black guy succeeds, but only because the white man fakes a seizure.
With the cops as an escort, the black man drives to the hospital. As soon as the police leave, however, the two men drive away.
Cut to some time earlier. The black man is waiting nervously in the hallway of a fancy house. Several other men, all white, are waiting there with him. The black man is wearing street clothes, but the white guys are all dressed in nice clothes. A set of expensive Faberge Eggs stand silent on a nearby shelf.
Several of the white men are shown being interviewed by a pretty redhead while the white man, now clean shaven, from the first scene watches. It soon becomes clear that the men are being interviewed for a job as a physical therapist, aide for the paralyzed man, named Philippe. It also becomes clear that the men don’t really seem committed to Philippe’s care; it’s simply a job to them.
Suddenly, the black man outside, whose name is Diss (aka Idriss), gets tired of waiting an storms into the interview room. He starts flirting with the pretty redhead and tells her and Philippe that all he wants from them is a signature for his unemployment form so he can get on the public dole. Philippe is amused by Diss; he tells Diss to return the next morning at 9.
Diss is shown going back to his family’s crowded apartment in the projects. His mother isn’t there at first, but when she returns home from work, she asks Diss where he’s been for the past few weeks (later we learn that Diss had been serving a six months’ sentence for robbery). Diss doesn’t answer. This angers his mother, who tells Diss she has other children to take care of, and he should leave. Cut to Diss hanging out with his friends on the corner while he waits for the next morning to arrive.
Diss shows up promptly at 9 a.m. at Philippe’s. Yvonne, the house manager, shows Diss around Philippe’s home. She tells Diss he can stay in a fancy bedroom, with his own private bath. This offer is too enticing to turn down. Even so, Philippe bets Diss that he won’t last 30 days as his physical aide.
Philippe continues to be amused by Diss. He also appreciates the black man’s non-patronizing, outgoing attitude, including his attempts to continue flirting with the redheaded secretary.
The relationship between the two men blossoms into a real friendship. Philippe starts to open up to Diss, as Diss helps out with Philippe’s physical therapy. One night, Philippe suffers terribly from phantom pains, and Diss carefully ministers to Philippe with a cold compress, wiping the sweat from his face.
Suddenly, the viewer himself is laughing and crying with the two men as they explore this unusual friendship. Diss encourages Philippe to contact the woman he’s been writing to for years. Philippe encourages Diss to realize the potential within himself.
THE INTOUCHABLES has already earned more than $330 million overseas. It’s also earned audience awards at various film festivals. It’s easy to see why this movie is so popular. The movie is one of the most emotionally riveting, entertaining foreign language movies in many a moon. The performances by Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy as Philippe and Diss are completely captivating. The editing, direction, and music are equally as engaging.
Regrettably, however, THE INTOUCHABLES has a lot of strong foul language, including some “f” words. There’s also some off-color comedy. For example, Philippe explains to Diss that he still has feeling in his ears and can enjoy a woman’s touch on that part of his body. Cut to a shot of both men getting a massage from two hired women. Philippe’s woman starts massaging his chest, and Diss commands her to stick just to his ears.
Despite these problems, the good news is that THE INTOUCHABLES has a very strong message against euthanasia of disabled people. Philippe is not morose about his disability, but Diss teaches him to celebrate life even more than he does. In one of the movie’s best scenes, occurring during a birthday party, Philippe teaches Diss to enjoy classical music. Diss returns the favor by getting the guests to dance with him to a song by Earth Wind and Fire. The sheer joy displayed in that scene is a perfect example of why audiences are responding to this movie’s anti-euthanasia theme and uplifting tone. THE INTOUCHABLES celebrates life. It has a wonderful, heartfelt ending that encourages viewers to do the same. THE INTOUCHABLES teaches an important moral lesson in a charming, heartwarming way.
THE INTOUCHABLES is a very engaging, entertaining movie with an uplifting ending. The performances are equally as captivating. So is the music. Regrettably, however, THE INTOUCHABLES has a lot of strong foul language, including some “f” words. There’s also some off-color comedy. In addition, the two lead characters smoke marijuana together in one scene. Despite these problems, the good news is that THE INTOUCHABLES has a very strong message against euthanasia of disabled people. Or, anyone else for that matter. THE INTOUCHABLES celebrates life. It has a wonderful, heartfelt ending that encourages viewers to do the same. THE INTOUCHABLES teaches an important moral lesson in a charming, heartwarming way.