19 August 2012

“The Intouchables”: Hymn to platonic friendship!

“The Intouchables”: Hymn to platonic friendship!

Simo Ezoubeiri
Monday, August 13th 2012

“The Intouchables” by co-filmmakers Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano has touched my heart and left me with a warm smile and an umbrella of thoughts. The film has started with a similar scene as in Ramin Bahrani’s “Goodbye Solo”; a full of life African man and a white man driving in a car by night. Before even I jumped into the film to figure out its “point d’attaque’” for the first fifteen minutes, I already sensed I am front of two monument actors and a great cinematography with a lot of precision and craft.

“The Intouchables”: Hymn to platonic friendship!
Before watching “The Intouchables,” I stumbled upon a great quote by acclaimed Indian filmmaker, Shekar Kapur, saying, “We are the stories we tell ourselves.” I personally find it a good fit for our current film review. In other words, it’s a deep way to escape from our intellect and let our imagination take the charge. Then, a compiling story will eventually see the light. By saying that, we genuinely illustrate the spirit of “the untouchables” and especially the choice made by the aristocrat (François Cluzet) when he hires a young man from the projects (Omar Sy) to be his caretaker. As a result, the film breaks the stereotypes that most of us has already established or may reconsider to establish in the future by over looking at the power balance between poor and rich people. It’s relative to be rich and handicapped in this context. The film let you think about why people still get hung up on being poor, when it is the absolute normal thing in the world. We have to meditate our preconceived ideas and poor judgment skills! The duo of the film has reached new personal milestones of true meanings of friendship. The moral lesson was meaningful to me at this time; either we suffer or fail to see humanity and goodness. 

The movie is based on a true story, makes more seemingly direct tributes. Driss cares about Phillipes’ life just like Solo does for William in “Goodbye Solo”- he even brought attention to his teenager daughter’s ill-manners, and then influenced him to talk to her directly. Philippe’s story can be also illustrated by his quest of friendship and romantic love with a woman. At this point, the film has brought the theme of epistolary letters to life by the way Philippe was communicating with a woman. I felt this part of the film was referring to “Les Laisons Dangereuse” by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos only in the simple method of exchanging love letters between a man and a woman. 

The film failed to answer why Driss didn’t care to help his family. Instead, the focus of the film was literally about Driss’s charisma and charm and of course when you have a talented actor like (Omar Sy) or (Souleymane Sy Savane) you are only expecting great performances like in “Goodbye Solo” or “The Intouchables”. Both films are unforgettable and have similar spirits of great writing, natural performances, and gems of filmmaking. Game Over!