Intouchables [2011]

Directed by: Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano
Written by: Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano
Starring: François Cluzet, Omar Sy, Anne Le Ny, Audrey Fleurot

I didn’t need further convincing. If one of this film’s leading men beat Jean Dujardin to the ‘Best Actor’ César in the year of Jean Dujardin, I obviously would want to watch it.

I checked my local listings this weekend and I was delighted that French film Intouchables opened in nearly every theater. At last!

At first I was confused, since the title over here is incredibly generic and ambiguous. It’s called Amigos (friends). What in the hell? But as soon as I knew which movie it was, I knew that a trip to the movies was in order.

I love that feeling when a movie is totally worth your time and the price of the ticket. It may sound like faint praise but, trust me, it’s not. It’s actually one of the highest compliments you could pay, especially in this day and age of sequels, prequels and dead creativity.

Intouchables isn’t flawless but, some would say, perfection is overrated. César winner Omar Sy and Dustin Hoffman-doppelgänger François Cluzet give fantastic, memorable performances. Their very different characters complement each other beautifully. Actress Anne Le Ny is very good in a much smaller role.

The writing/directing team of Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano could’ve taken the easy route and woven a manipulative, maudlin yarn. But they made the difficult and wise choice of letting the story and its performers speak for themselves.

It’s poignant when it should be and humorous when it needs to be. It’s warm, it’s funny, it occasionally will make you cringe and it’s filled with great music: just like life itself. Really, what more could you ask for?

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