New in Theaters: ‘The Intouchables’

If you feel confused at some point during The Intouchables, that may well be because you have the sensation of being in the wrong film. Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano’s film is ostensibly about a wealthy white Parisian quadriplegic being nursed by an untrained black man from the projects. This outline draws on some rather egregious race clichés, as well as conventions recalling a sports movie, in which the scrappy underdogs with more heart than skill band together to show up that team from the rich school. While this movie offers no sports, no big game, and very little structure at all, it still leaves the impression of the formula, in protagonists who repeatedly shock those who underestimate them and in tricky plot passages handled by the rousing musical montage. That it doesn’t all end in a tie-breaking three-point shot as the clock buzzes 00:00 makes for a potent disconnect… 

The Intouchables is playing in many cities now, expanding around the country later, likely to much acclaim. My full review is at PopMatters.

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