“Intouchables”: when friendship overcomes barriers

Is a genuine friendship between a rich quadriplegic man and a penniless caregiver living a dissolute life possible?  The answer given by “Intouchables”, a French 2011 movie inspired to a true story, is a determined yes.

"Intouchables" - poster

The story remembers, in some aspects, “Me before you”, at least at the beginning. Even here, the two main characters couldn’t be more different, at least superficially: Philippe, a noble rich man who is quadriplegic due to an accident while he was paragliding, looks for a new caregiver and, by chance, instead of a good looking one with good references, at last, the “winner” is Driss, a Senegalese man who has just got out of jail and needs to find a job to access the welfare program for himself and his family. After an “adjustment” period, they become friends, thanks to the fact that, in Driss’ eyes, Philippe isn’t just a patient he has to take care of, but, above all, someone he can talk to, have fun doing crazy things together  (for instance, the ride on a custom-built car and the lie they tell the policemen who stop them), confront each other, talking about music, etc. Driss also succeeds convincing Philippe to open his heart to feelings again, spurring him to take care of his teenage daughter, but also to give himself a chance with Éléonore, the woman Philippe has been having an epistolary relationship with since a long time, without having the guts to meet her in person.

Intouchables” has far more than the old, well-worn tale about the relationship among disabled and “able-bodied” people. Philippe and Driss, ultimately, in people’s eyes, due to different reasons, are both “untouchable”, and maybe that’s an additional reason why they can easily get in tune with each other and, in the end, reciprocally changing their lives. In conclusion, in my opinion, it’s a movie that deserves all the (many!) awards it has won: it’s worth to watch it (again)!

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