http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxkfYXpJ7QE

Untouchable is a French movie (original title The Intouchables) directed by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano and released in 2011. A few weeks after its release it became one of the biggest French box office hits of all time. Together with great cinematography, the story offers many interesting points for discussion and analysis.

Untouchable (2011)

Untouchable is a French movie (original title The Intouchables) directed by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano and released in 2011. A few weeks after its release it became one of the biggest French box office hits of all time. Together with great cinematography, the story offers many interesting points for discussion and analysis.

Directed by: Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano.

Cast: François Cluzet, Omar Sy, Audrey Fleurot

The plot revolves around the relationship of Philippe, a millionaire who has been left paraplegic as the result of an accident, and the irresponsible, unemployed Drill whom Philippe – to the surprise of those who know him – takes on as his assistant.  It’s based on a true story, which adds to the significance of the many of the messages found in the movie.

The first point of interest deals with the two main characters. They are completely different in both their origin and their abilities.  The highly cultured Philippe loves music and is only able to move his head.  Surrounded by his riches, his life becomes extremely monotonous and somewhat bitter due to his physical disability and his rather resigned attitude towards the circumstances.  Drill, who was raised in the Paris underworld, is, by contrast, an athletic, agile, street-smart young man, intelligent but uneducated.  A chronic work avoider, unscrupulously living off unemployment benefits, he lives his life on the street seeking only to enjoy himself.

The unlikely hiring of Drill by Philippe is understood in the light of the most interesting element of their relationship: Drill doesn’t treat Philippe as if he is sick. On the contrary, he is in some ways unmerciful towards him.  In fact, this is the deal maker for Philippe: he’s tired of being treated as useless.  Their relationship grows, and Drill helps Philippe to overcome many of his fears, inviting him to give life a second chance.

Drill, for his part, also undergoes an interesting change.  Contact with Philippe gradually humanizes him, making him more responsible, opening him to new horizons and uncovering hidden talents. From a lowlife with neither the responsibilities nor ideals to become something more, he overcomes obstacles to become a more generous, more mature person.

Another interesting element worth looking at is that the friendship between the two characters enriches those around them.  Philippe’s home is transformed from a sad, gloomy place into a house filled with joy and light.  And Philippe himself shows signs of transformation as he begins to assume responsibility for his daughter.  In a similar way, Drill restores relations with his family and takes on new responsibilities with his parents.

This brings us to another important aspect.  Despite the fact that Drill becomes indispensable to Philippe, Philippe recognizes generously and magnanimously that his young assistant must also have new horizons and, above all, spend more time with his family.  He is able to let him go, the proof of a true friendship which always has the other’s best interests at heart.

The movie effectively communicates the serious limitations of a paraplegic, who is completely dependent on others.  Philippe’s expression gains greater transcendence and shows his own growth. He is no longer the selfish, impatient, self-centered man at the start of the movie. Even with his fears and physical limitations, he begins to open and strike up new relationships.

Despite dealing with the huge drama lived by a “disabled” person, the movie has many funny parts.  This very human approach sees the disabled person as a someone who, like everyone else, has great horizons and possibilities.

As an aside, it’s worth noting that the movie is a bit over the top in some humor and sexual content, although there is no explicit nudity. (Editor’s note: Also keep in mind that this is a secular film) This needs to be kept in mind if the movie is going to be watched by minors.

Another interesting Catholic review of the movie may be found here.