• James Rutherford

'The Intouchables': The Endearing Tale of a Wealthy Quadriplegic and His Charming New Caregiver


Movie poster for the French film The Intouchables starring François Cluzet and Omar Sy

The Intouchables (2011) is a delightful and endearing French comedy-drama starring François Cluzet as Philippe, a wealthy hotelier left paralyzed in a paragliding accident. Widowed and childless, Philippe and his assistant Magalie (Audrey Fleurot) are interviewing candidates for a role as Philippe's live-in caregiver when they first encounter Driss (Omar Sy), a highly engaging ex-convict who expresses great interest in the opportunity.


Recently released from prison and content to live off of government benefits, Driss has actually applied for the position in order to receive a rejection—and therefore continue to maintain his social welfare allowance. To his utter surprise, however, Philippe is charmed by the loquacious jokester and takes him on—despite his complete lack of applicable experience. As it turns out, Philippe is wonderfully relieved to engage the one applicant without apparent sympathy for his state of incapacity, and the two soon develop a unique and unassailable camaraderie.


Written and directed by French filmmakers Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano (Those Happy Days, The Specials) and based on a true story, The Intouchables is a lively and appealing depiction of clashing cultures and inspired human affinity. Cluzet and Sy deliver their performances with aplomb, fully inhabiting their roles as men of starkly contrasting backgrounds who bond through playful repartee and mutual reliance. Carefully side-stepping cliché and undue stereotype, it succeeds handsomely as a pleasant tale of friendship and genuine interpersonal accord.