Movie Review: No 78. The Intouchables

Movie Review: No 78. The Intouchables

Antoine: These street guys have no pity.
Philippe: That’s what I want…no pity.

A few days ago, I was involved in a discussion amongst some friends about the Lord of the Rings series. Basically the conversation centred around the fantasy genre.

Over the years I have come to discover that I do not enjoy the fantasy genre. It’s not that I don’t have respect for Tolkien (or, indeed, Peter Jackson) – they are highly skilled and have produced masterpieces that bring joy and wonder to countless people all over the World. It’s just that they haven’t brought joy and wonder to me.

That’s why I was so thrilled when, sitting in a darkened cinema preparing to watch my first Top 100 movie of the year on the big screen, I was delighted to see the words, “Based on a true story”…

There is something so thrilling to me about a true story. Much like animals, I suppose, mythical creatures do nothing for me. It’s always real people, real stories, and real relationships that have me glued to my seat.

I can even handle a bit of poetic licence. As a writer myself, I know that sometimes a story takes a bit of massaging to help it reach its potential. As long as the underlying message remains, I’m happy.

‘The Intouchables’ was released in 2011, but for the first time I am grateful that Australian cinema needed to wait and observe its international success before jumping on the bandwagon. You see, it’s a French language film and it’s only just now showing in Australian cinemas. We can thank the film’s European success for that!

When I came to write my review, I had the urge to check the film’s current ranking on imdb. I was unsurprised to find that, in the months since 1 July, the film has jumped 11 places from 78 to 67. I would not be surprised to watch it rise higher and higher as more of us in the English-speaking World watch it.

The beautiful thing about French films is that they are made for adults. I say this because I frequently find Hollywood movies so unendingly patronising that I find it refreshing to enjoy something that isn’t all about appealing to the lowest common denominator.

You may have noticed that I haven’t said much about the film’s content yet. I suppose I want to keep it a surprise for you, because it was a pleasant surprise for me. I will say that ‘The Intouchables’ was like a French version of ‘The Blind Side’ in many ways. I enjoyed ‘The Blind Side’ a great deal, but I’d have to argue that the French do it better.

The film is touching, but it never feels forced. I must say that my eyes misted up towards the end, but the overwhelming emotion I felt was joy. I laughed out loud harder and more often in this film than recent fumbling attempts at comedy like ‘Bridesmaids’ or ‘The Hangover’. It’s the kind of film that leaves you walking away feeling just a little bit changed – and changed for the better.

Absolutely, 100%, the film of the year. In my view, it could only possibly be outdone by Les Misérables… although the likelihood now of Hollywood outdoing the French at their own game seems far-fetched.

10 pumpkins… and an Academy Award in 2013.

Have you seen ‘The Intouchables’? Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments below.

6 responses »

    • I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, although often I find a lot of the joy comes from starting with low expectations and being pleasantly surprised so I hope I haven’t ruined that part for you!

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