Obstruction 1 – Intouchables (2011)

A few weeks ago I stumbled across an interesting blogathon created by Nostra over at My Filmviews. The blogathon is about writing one post every month for a total of 5 posts. The goal is to challenge yourself as a writer by getting out of your comfort zone and thereby hopefully improving your skills. The first obstruction, for the month of June, is all about assessing a randomly picked movie from a totally different point of view. My pick is Intouchables, a movie that I loved. Obviously, my task now is to write a negative review about it so I will have to be very critical. I don’t expect it be an easy job. In fact, I think it’s going to be harder than it looks. If you are wondering, you can find my original review over here. Let’s begin.

Obstruction 1: Write a positive review of a movie you don’t like or write a negative review of a movie you love.

Directors: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano
Writers: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano
Cast: François Cluzet, Omar Sy, Audrey Fleurot

Intouchables Movie Poster

Inspired by a true story, Intouchables is a predictable movie which makes you feel good and in return asks you to turn a blind eye and love the movie to the fullest. Filled with a bunch of cliché-ridden stereotypes, the movie explores the developing friendship between Philippe (François Cluzet), a wealthy white Frenchman, and Driss (Omar Sy), a black man from the Parisian ghettos. When Driss gets a job, his responsibilities include taking care of the handicapped Philippe. This situation creates riveting scenes in which Driss, who represents the lower social classes, reacts to a somewhat higher standard of living. As pleasant it may seem, the movie rather focuses on the satirical and unoriginal imagery. Take for instance the stereotypical depiction of a pot-smoking negro from the ‘slums’, without a care for the civilized society’s values and manners.

Obviously, Omar Sy’s character changes radically throughout the movie. Driss lets out his inner artist, all thanks to the patronage of wealthy Philippe. The movie’s premise that friendships can happen between anyone, no matter the person’s background, has been weakly examined. The two main characters get high, Driss almost beats up the ‘respected’ neighbor and he even hires some happy prostitutes for the sheer fun of it. The storyline is a confusing mess of random events that have little or no relevance to each other. Similarly, the poor writing does allow for some witty lines, but in the end is the cause of some serious issues.

How about racism throughout Intouchables? That is my first problem. Perhaps a bit far-fetched, but it is clear how Driss is the only character who develops to the standards of a white man’s world. Moreover, I have never seen two characters being so diverse like in this movie. To give the story more depth, the directors had chosen a subplot that included Driss keeping his younger brother away from trouble in the ghetto. Unfortunately, this has been worked out way too clumsily. Same goes for who Driss develops into: smoking, scoping some babes, painting and selling, but you won’t see him use the money to help his poor family.

Even though you could argue that the movie’s focus lies differently, it is clear that Intouchables features too many loose ends. The very fact that it is based on a true story makes me wonder how much of the events have been excessively and unrealistically dramatized. Hugely predictable, Intouchables is all about outdated values and bland clichés to tell a highly unlikely story. Perhaps its unlikeness made many interested in watching it…


8 thoughts on “Obstruction 1 – Intouchables (2011)

  1. One of my favorite movies and you wrote a good negative review for it. The racism was mentioned in one big American review, but I personally didn’t see that at all. It’s inspiring story which was based on actual events and very entertainingly converted into a movie. Thanks for joining the blogathon!

  2. Pingback: The 5 Obstructions blogathon: Overview

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