The Intouchables (2011)

A French-language based on a true story drama, The Intouchables is … touching … but not as good as it likes to think it is. In the mind of its creators it seems to be a comic drama of immense human significance; in reality it is powerful and affecting and funny at different times. It’s also clichéd, patronising and predictable.

It’s the story of a rich, privileged quadriplegic man who needs to hire a new carer. He picks a young man with no qualifications and no experience from the Paris housing projects. What follows is a predictable but still effective clash of cultures and expectations, with mutual learning taking place on both sides of the divide. The films seems at pains to not offend with its sensitive subject matter, the overall effect seeming to be at times patronising to the poor and the disabled alike. All poor people like hip-hop, it seems; all the rich, classical music. The quadriplegic man struggles to feel, you see. Yes, really. All a bit trite at times.

At others is affecting though. It chimed with me at points; it encourages an engaging, counter-cultural lack of safety and wisdom the better to actually build meaningful lives and relationships, to break artificial barriers and self-limitations. It’s encourages a kind of holy recklessness on its viewers, that you suspect will get lost amidst the worthiness for many. If only the film itself had shown a little more danger and a little less safety, we could have had something more special and less crowd-pleasing.

I rated this film 3/5 on rottentomatoes.com and 6/10 on imdb.com

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