12 October - 25 October 2012
A surprisingly small number of home-grown hits from France actually make it onto our screens, as British distributors seem to think that arty, more upmarket fare will succeed better in translation. Untouchable is a welcome exception to that rule. As successful with French critics as it was at the box office, this true-life odd couple story is as accessible as it gets, even with subtitles.
Philippe (François Cluzet) is a quadriplegic confined to a wheelchair, unable to feel anything below his neck. A wealthy man, he is able to afford round-the-clock care and with the aid of a secretary, a nurse and a caretaker, he lives a reasonably satisfied life. When the time comes to recruit a replacement caretaker he interviews a slew of candidates, but only one stands out. This is Driss (Omar Sy), who has only applied for the job in order to remain eligible for his unemployment benefits. Philippe is impressed by Driss' unconventional approach to the interview and offers him the job. Soon, after working through a few rough spots, a friendship begins to blossom between the pair. It's fuelled by mutual respect, a love of fast cars and musical diversity.
Heart-warming and inspirational, this unlikely friendship will have you reaching for the tissues before the second act. But it is the strength of the writing and the performances (Sy won the Best Actor César over The Artist's Jean Dujardin last year) which will have you rooting for both characters until the very end.