Saturday movie review: 'The Intouchables'

I watched two movies this week, thanks to Netflix streaming. The first movie was okay. The second movie was, well, outstanding and inspirational.

The Intouchables movie

My review today is on that second film, the outstanding and inspirational one. Not only is THE INTOUCHABLES outstanding and inspirational, it's also heartfelt, funny, poignant and based on a true story. (And it's subtitled — a heads-up for those who eschew reading while watching.)

THE INTOUCHABLES, a 2011 French film, stars Francois Cluzet (who looks very much like Dustin Hoffman) as wealthy quadriplegic Phillipe and Omar Sy as Driss, a small-time criminal from the projects whom Phillippe hires as his caretaker — much against the advice of family and friends.

THE INTOUCHABLES surprised me, delightfully surpassed my expectations. (I've had it in my Netflix queue for quite some time and continually overlooked it.) The true story touches on the stereotypes of class and race, finding courage to do the right thing, grieving and getting on with life despite how hard that can be when facing physical and financial limitations.

It's also about an unexpected bond and true friendship. Phillippe and Driss develop a real and admirable relationship despite having nearly nothing in common — except that they're both good men facing crappy circumstances. They face their challenges head on with heart and humor, humor that left my husband and me laughing out loud many times. (Especially during one particularly delightful dance scene.)

That humor is well-balanced with poignant moments of self-discovery for both Phillippe and Driss. The score of the film — which sounded very George Winston-like but wasn't by him — perfectly complemented the ups and downs for the individuals and their relationship.

I chose to watch THE INTOUCHABLES after feeling rather unfulfilled by the first movie I watched this week, the one I originally planned to review today.* I'm so glad I did. THE INTOUCHABLES proved absolutely satisfying in a variety of ways. There's no question as to why it was nominated for several top film awards in a number of countries and won quite a few of those. The performances were flawless, the film fantastic.

THE INTOUCHABLES (rated R "for language and some drug use") is available on Blu-ray, DVD and via Netflix streaming.

*Interested in that first movie? It's ROBOT & FRANK and, as I said, okay.