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Movie Review

The Intouchables also known as “Le Intouchables”

MPAA Rating: R for language and some drug use.

Reviewed by: John Walker
CONTRIBUTOR

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Comedy Drama
Length:
1 hr. 52 min.
Year of Release:
2012
USA Release:
May 25, 2012 (limited—4 theaters LA/NYC)
DVD: March 5, 2013
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, The Weinstein Company

social contrast—compare the world’s of a rich aristocrat and a poor man

POVERTY—What does the Bible say about the poor? Answer

poor in the Bible

paralyzation / paralyzed man / quadriplegic / tetraplegic / full body paralysis

humility / How did Jesus greatly humble himself for us? Answer

Suffering

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

Does God feel our pain? Answer

ORIGIN OF BAD—How did bad things come about? Answer

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer

Suicide

SUICIDE—What does the Bible say? Answer

If a Christian commits suicide, will they go to Heaven? Answer

Hope

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Featuring: François Cluzet … Philippe
Omar Sy … Driss
Anne Le Ny … Yvonne
Audrey Fleurot … Magalie
Clotilde Mollet … Marcelle
Alba Gaïa Bellugi … Elisa
Cyril Mendy … Adama
more »
Director: Olivier Nakache
Eric Toledano
Producer: Quad Productions
Chaocorp
more »
Distributor: The Weinstein Company

“Sometimes you have to reach into someone else’s world to find what’s missing in your own.”

From the title, one may be a little unsure what the movie is about. Translated from the French word, Intouchable: inapprochable, intangible, impalpable; one begins to get a hint of the subject.

And so, we begin the story with these two “intouchables”. Based upon the book You Changed My Life by Abdel Sellou, we see the story of Driss and Phillipe. Driss is a poor man from the wrong side of the tracks, and Phillipe is a wealthy tetraplegic who is confined to his wheelchair and/or bed—relying on the help of others just to function each day. The movie unfolds with Phillipe hiring a caregiver for himself, and he chooses Driss from among many more qualified candidates. His choice lies in the fact Driss looks quickly past his limitations and treats him with the same “disrespect” he gives others, instead of as some rich “intouchable” cripple. Driss immediate enjoys the perks of employment for someone of affluence, but really doesn’t understand the duties of the job.

He soon comes to realize the unpleasantries of being a total caregiver to someone, especially someone who requires such complete care. Driss begins to influence Phillipe in the same way our own friends begin to influence us. As the film progresses, Phillipe’s ethics and attitudes slowly begin to infiltrate Driss’s life and attitudes. The film travels through many vignettes of their time together and how they slowly begin to learn and enjoy each other’s company. Phillipe’s friends, who distrust and originally had disdain for Driss, soon see that his and Phillipe’s friendship is real and heartfelt. Both mature in different ways, to the point that they can function in the world outside of their self-imposed cocoons.

The acting is excellent throughout. The supporting cast helps create the feeling that one is entering into their world—privy to a peek into their lives. I never really felt that these were actors I was watching, but it seemed more like a window that one could see through as I walked through this time with them.

The movie uses subtitles which can be a little distracting, since it takes one’s eyes away from the characters’ faces and reactions. The movie is funny, at times, touching at others, moves at a very smooth pace, and does not feel rushed or out of step. I do not know a lot about French culture, but I enjoyed the visit, both visually and culturally.

This movie is definitely not for children. It has an R rating, and it has the elements that earn it. Themes such as suicide, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use, homosexuality, vulgarity, and alluded violence are present. This is not a story about Christians, and the characters’ lifestyles and attitudes confirm that. One cannot expect moral behavior from those who are not constrained by the Holy Spirit, but we can see how when good character shines through someone, many lives are touched.

The movie has redeeming qualities which run through the entire film—themes like compassion, acceptance, trust, parental leadership, the desire to live a better life, joy, marital love, self-respect, family, and friendship. These are the qualities we hope to live for as Christians, and seeing them modeled is a great reminder that these qualities originate from the Spirit of God (this being one of them—Matthew 5:44: “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you”). The most uplifting part of these characters is when they exhibit these qualities to overcome their fears, prejudices, and shortcomings. We see how living outside of God’s original plan leads to unfulfilled lives that need mending.

If you are sensitive to vulgar language and sexual undertones, then this will not be a film for you. I teetered on the edge whether to give this an average or offensive moral rating, I think that this being based on a true story (people you get to see at the end of the film), swayed me to average. It is a “feel good” movie that delivers in the end. I enjoy seeing films that show the better side of people, especially when it is defined by the choices they make to do so. It inspires me, also, to live a life that would be pleasing to God. If unrepentant people can live inspirational lives, I should do no less than them. Bad things happen to both the good and the bad. It is our reactions to those things that help mold ourselves and those around us (Matthew 5:44, “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust”). I enjoyed the film, and I think if you enjoy this type of film, you would like this one very much.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive
Positive—This is a very interesting movie, and having it based on a true story makes it even more meaningful. It is beautifully acted. I agree with the reviewer that you become immersed in this world. The story is written to inspire, and it succeeds very well. The direction and cinematography are excellent.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Halyna Barannik, age 66 (USA)
Positive—This movie was a wonderful example of how people should be selfless and should care for others. I like how the two characters became like brothers and became better people by interacting with each other. Jesus tells us to love one another as he has loved us, and this movie really shows that you can love someone your different from. This was not a Christian movie, but it has Christian principals, and I enjoyed it a lot!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jennavi, age 21 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—We have started turning movies off when they use God’s name in vain. Within 3 minutes, third commandment violation.
—3rd_commandment_violation, age 46 (USA)

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