The Intouchables -Directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano
Movie finished: May 24th
‘The Intouchables’ directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano tells the story of a wealthy and physically disabled man, Phillipe, who due to an accident requires a full-time carer. With good timing and risk-taking from both parties, he comes across and hires Senegalese, street-smart ex-con, Driss. The story follows the humour and connection between the two individuals who on the surface, would look to have nothing in common.
Phillipe and Driss come from two very different backgrounds, ethnicities and social situations. However, even though they begin their relationship as two very different people with contrasting personalities and experiences, throughout the film they connect on a new level and develop a lifelong friendship.
One of the main themes that I believe the film encased was the importance of risk-taking. During Driss’ interview for the caretaker job he storms in without taking a seat and asks Phillipe to sign his paper (providing that he tried to get a job 3 separate times and could not, therefore, needing government benefits.) After the interview, Phillipe found something intriguing and challenging about Driss that he decides to give him a chance to prove himself. His rebellious spirit and lack of pity are refreshing to Phillipe as being a quadriplegic many people only feel sorry for him. Phillipe was having a discussion with his lawyer about hiring Driss when his lawyer said: “Be careful. You know guys from the suburbs have no mercy.” “That’s what I want.” he said, “No mercy.” This quote illustrates the fact that Phillipe is sick and tired of people always taking pity on him and treating him like a child and having Driss as his carer will be a revitalising change so he would no longer be surrounded by people walking on their tip toes around him. Just as Phillipe was taking this risk, Driss was taking one of his own. He had absolutely no experience for working as a carer but managed to convince himself to selfishly take the unfamiliar and daunting job for the extravagant lifestyle that comes with it. even though Driss entered the job for the selfish benefits only, begins to find himself through his job and enjoys taking care of Phillipe. Throughout the film, as the two men develop their friendship and life experiences with one another, it is proven that their risk-taking on both sides of the story was well worth it.
Another important idea I believe is addressed in the text is that of making assumptions about people. At the beginning of the movie, I believed it was easy to make assumptions about Driss but more specifically, Phillipe based on both his physical appearance and background. One of the stereotypical views made by society about someone who is physically disabled like Phillipe, is that they do not have the means to be able to withstand a productive and fulfilling life compared to someone who may be in a different position. However the pair prove the viewers wrong throughout the film as Phillipe comes across as a more determined and productive person the more we get to know him. Both Phillipe and Driss tackle this idea by using humour which gives a sense of refreshment of the situation for the viewer, “Where do you find a disabled person? Where you left him.” The address that yes, in-fact Phillipe does have a disability, but that does not make him any less of a person then anyone else. One important quote that adds onto this idea is when Driss says: ‘It doesn’t matter who you are on the outside, the main thing is who you are on the inside.’ This quote relates both to Driss and his self definition after defying expectations of others but also Phillipe and the fact that Driss can show that he understands he is not just someone who is stuck in a chair for the rest of his life, but also someone who has a will to love, a brain and even a sense of humour.
This idea of making assumptions about people based on physical attributes and backgrounds connects well with today’s society through high school ages but also disabilities, religion and race as I believe it was touched on it the film. Everyone goes through this process, whether it be being judged by someone as soon as you met them when they knew nothing about you, or on the other end where you make assumptions about people to quickly based on their appearance and your opinions about them.
Overall, I would highly recommend this movie to year 12 and 13 students as it delivers the viewers with many important themes and messages. The idea of being able to take risks is important to share with teenagers before they move into adulthood, it gives an important mindset telling them that if they don’t enjoy a certain job or want to try something out of their comfort zone it is ok to push your boundaries and experience different cultures and situations as it may all work out for the better. Making assumptions about people based on appearances and backgrounds is regularly addressed in the film, and it is important in high schools today as it necessary for senior students to share this experience and knowledge with each other as still moves on into adulthood.