The French film Intouchables has cleaned up at the French box office and may well duplicate that feat on the art house circuit in the U.S. The only stumbling block I can see lies in the number of critics (albeit a relatively small number) who are determined to view the film in terms of its racial components. What strikes me as strange about this is that the issue of race between its two main players, Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy, is all but non-existent. The gulf that separates them is strictly in the area of class boundaries. Of course, that doesn’t change the fact that even that kind of plot, of the uptight rich guy being taught to loosen up by the free-spirited poor guy, is as old as the hills (or at least as old as Frank Capra). But the fact is, it still works, and I’ve rarely seen it work any better than it does here with this tale of a fabulously wealthy quadriplegic and his totally inappropriate caregiver. Is it manipulative? You bet, but it’s also outrageously funny, warm, and a lot nearer the truth in ways you might not at first appreciate.
Director: Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache
Writer: Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano
Producer: Yann Zenou and Laurent Zeitoun
Cast: Omar Sy, Francois Cluzet, Anne Le Ny, Audrey Fleurot, Clotilde Mollet, Alba-Gaïa Kraghede Bellugi, Cyril Mendy, Christian Améri, Marie-Laure Descoureaux and Grégoire Oestermann