Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Intouchables

The Intouchables

Directed by Olivier Nakache & Eric Toledano

Part comedy and part drama, The Intouchables is one of the most successful French films of all-time. And I can see why.

Nothing about this movie is incredibly original, but that doesn't matter. When something is done right, it doesn't need to be the first time it has been done, and though this isn't necessarily a retelling of Driving Miss Daisy, in many ways it functions the same way. And lack of originality is also forgiven considering the fact that this was based on a true story; a phrase that holds little actual meaning, but successfully works as a defense for being the same story we've all heard before. But this movie takes what we've already seen and does it well.

The performances in this movie are quite wonderful. Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy particularly stand out in their two central roles, giving believability, depth, and humor to roles which might have otherwise fallen flat. The entire cast feels at home, but it's because of these two main characters that everything comes together so nicely, and they really are quite effective. Charming, charismatic, and excellent chemistry between the two, the whole movie rests on their shoulders, and thanks to their ability to evoke genuine emotion through their subtly layered performances, the result is a fantastic, compellingly honest character drama.

Of all the other aspects which come together to make this movie work so well, the one in particular that stood out to me was the musical score. Brilliantly composed by the instantly recognizable Ludovico Einaudi, the music in this film is alternately beautiful and hauntingly melancholic. The simplicity of a largely piano-based score shows once again how effective it can be in emotionally revealing scenes, and with the aid of additional music from outside sources, music is a key factor in what makes this movie so effective on many levels. Music can be a useful tool for a film, and when it's used right you can feel the effect -- not just 'hear' it.

Aside from just being a well-made movie with great writing, acting, and music, there is something else at play here making The Intouchables even better. It's hard not to feel the effect of a feel-good movie that has been done well. Even if you forget details about the movie after having watched it, you still have the feeling that goes along with it. This movie makes you happy. It doesn't force sentimentality, but the innate likability of its characters make it hard not to become invested. And once you start to care about the characters, it becomes much easier to share their emotions. And any time I can finish a movie and feel better about life for having watched it, there's a movie I'd find hard not to recommend.

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