The Intouchables

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
The Intouchables Movie Poster Image
Sweet French drama about unlikely friendship has some edge.
  • R
  • 2012
  • 113 minutes
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 7 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The Intouchables offers valuable reminders about how you can't assume anything about anyone regardless of their wealth, education, or physical abilities. Philippe and Driss' trusting, open relationship proves that race, status, and disability don't have to be obstacles to understanding and unconditional friendship. Disability also doesn't have to stop a person from finding love.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Even though they're employer and employee and of different socioeconomic and racial backgrounds, Philippe and Driss grow to respect and love each other, and each changes the other. Their odd-couple relationship transcends superficial differences and becomes based on their mutual ability to see beyond what others see in them.

Violence

Driss intimidates a couple of guys (one of them a teen) by shoving them against a wall and getting in their face. The police -- with guns drawn -- handcuff and act rough with Driss until they notice Philippe in the car. Driss' younger brother is under a drug dealer's thumb. An older woman slaps a younger man. At one point, Philippe, a quadriplegic, looks like he's in distress and even about to die.

Sex

A man shamelessly flirts with and propositions an uninterested woman, who sometimes plays along by unbuttoning her top a few buttons while the man disrobes down to his underwear. Bikini-clad "massage therapists" (prostitutes) have to be told not try to go below the waist. Teenagers make out until they're interrupted. A woman who's revealed to be a lesbian suggests a "threesome" but is doing it as a joke. 

Language

The movie is subtitled, so only French speakers will understand the spoken curse words. But in the subtitles, there are about 10 uses of "f--k" and even more of "s--t," as well as "a--hole," "ass," and insults like "moron," "idiot, " "insane," "jerk," "crazy," and the occasional religious exclamation.

Consumerism

A Maserati is prominently featured and driven. An iPod makes an appearance in a couple of scenes, as does a Kangol hat.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The movie takes place in France, where smoking cigarettes is still very common. Several characters smoke them, and adults are also shown smoking marijuana. Wine and cocktails are shown at every meal or party, and a teen girl purposely combines anti-diarrhea medication with painkillers after she's dumped (she's OK, though). A sick man takes many prescription drugs and uses pot to help with his appetite. A teen boy is arrested for marijuana possession.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Intouchables is an award-winning French drama based on the true story of a wealthy quadriplegic and his down-and-out personal aide. Like most odd-couple stories, the drama includes worthwhile lessons about friendship being deeper than the superficial differences that divide people (in this case, race, wealth, education, and physical ability). It's subtitled, but there are about 10 translated uses of "f--k," as well as "s--t," "a--hole," and other insults. There are several references to sex, an ongoing comedic flirtation between a man and an uninterested woman, and plenty of cigarettes, wine, and even some marijuana -- used both medicinally and for leisure.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMarine Musaelian May 4, 2014

Really cool movie

This movie is awesome because driss is kinfd o asneaky man and I like sneaky oh this movie is just kind and it is good fir people to watch
Adult Written byChris F. April 6, 2018

Great movie- amazing message

I have worked in and out of juvinille treatment centers and will always advocate for the watching of this film. It is beauitfuly and artfully filme. While eludi... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byevolinag October 13, 2012

Critically acclaimed French drama goes a thin line between PG-13 and R!

"The Intouchables" is a French drama based on a trues story. It was a huge success in Europe, bith financial and critical. I actually was surprised th... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byBestPicture1996 August 8, 2013

"Blind Side"-esque but charming

I realize this is a true story and they are simply adapting the facts, but that doesn't stop this film from being wholly predictable. I loved the paraglidi... Continue reading

What's the story?

The award-winning French drama THE INTOUCHABLES is about a rich, white Parisian quadriplegic who hires a black ex-con as his live-in personal assistant. Loosely based on a true story, the story follows how paralyzed aristocrat Philippe (Francois Cluzet) gives down-and-out petty criminal Driss (Omar Sy) a chance to be his health aide, even though there are many more qualified applicants. At first, Driss is skeptical and even disgusted by some of his responsibilities (like bathroom duty), but soon enough the two very different men come to understand and respect each other -- and help each other above and beyond any employer-employee dynamic.

Is it any good?

As unlikely friendships in movies go, the one between Philippe and Driss is purely on the sweet and inspiring side. There's nothing all that complicated about their alliance. Wealthy Philippe and street Driss understand each other and can teach other the respective importance of Beethoven and Earth, Wind and Fire. Though Philippe can't drive, Driss can use his legs to drive Philippe's Maserati fast and furious, providing a thrill that Philippe thought he'd never feel again.

Although deeper issues about the socio-economic divisions that separate Philippe and Driss aren't substantively explored, The Intouchables is a fantastically acted, surprisingly funny film. It's obvious what Driss gets from being Philippe's aide (a steady income, a ridiculously beautiful place to live, and all the other luxuries that being part of Philippe's household staff offers). But it's equally obvious how Philippe benefits from the relationship: He gets a sense of spontaneity, a lust for life, and a companion without pity. It's no wonder why France selected the feel-good movie as its 2012 submission to the Academy Awards for best foreign language film.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what The Intouchables teaches about disability. Why was Philippe happier with Driss as an aide than the other, more objectively qualified assistants? How did Driss treat Philippe differently than the others?

  • Some critics have said the story dismisses any deep exploration of the differences (particularly race and class) between the two men. Do you agree?

  • How does the movie portray smoking? How is it different in that regard than an American movie?

Movie details

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