I have always been a fan of heart-warming films and The Intouchables, a French comedy-drama, is no exception to this rule. The combination of the storyline, the aesthetics, and the soundtrack make this film one that should be immediately added to your ‘to-watch list’.
Based on a true story – as all the tear jerkers appear to be – The Intouchables tells the story of an unlikely friendship forming between Philippe, a quadriplegic Frenchman, and his caregiver, Driss. The two come from completely contrasting walks of life – Philippe who lives a life of wealth and luxury, and Driss who has to support his family and doesn’t take his work seriously. Driss only attends the interview to be a caregiver so he can receive his benefits, but Philippe is fascinated by his manner. As the story develops, so does the two protagonists’ friendship; Driss doesn’t treat Philippe any differently because of his disability, and similarly Philippe introduces Driss to cultural pastimes including viewing modern art, going to the opera and even starting to paint. This combination of factors allows the two protagonists to value their own lives a lot more, and begin to understand each other’s hardships.
An element of this film that particularly stands out is the soundtrack. I am a huge fan of Ludovico Einaudi, and his style of classical music fits perfectly in The Intouchables. His music stays faithful to traditional classical music but also encompasses some more modern elements. Perhaps this is representative of the traditional and modern being brought together through the friendship of Philippe and Driss. This style of music is then combined with elements of more traditional classical music that Philippe appreciates, and music that Driss favours such as Earth, Wind and Fire’s ‘Boogie Wonderland’.
Although the film features some difficult themes, it tackles them in a comedic and light-hearted manner. The theme of disability features heavily and is useful and interesting when examining how we treat people with disabilities in society. This theme of disability is further explored in the film, observing how Philippe is still able to maintain romantic relationships as well as friendships. The end of the film, which shows pictures and videos of the individuals that the film is based on, really embraced the true focus of The Intouchables – how friendships are able to flourish despite the complexities of class and disability.