The Intouchables is much more than a based-on-true-life tale of an odd couple and an inspiring attitude. It's hilarious and touching in equal measure; a poignant yet irreverent story told with great skill.
There are three main characters in this film: a wealthy, heartbroken quadriplegic called Philippe; a small-time criminal from the Parisian projects called Driss; and the music which deftly illustrates their vastly different backgrounds.
Driss employs his strong arms and generous humour to care for and entertain Philippe. Their bond is revealed during attacks of phantom pain in the night, as Driss firmly takes hold of Philippe's face, mops his brow, and quietly reassures him.
The pair discuss art, sex, loss and poetry. When confronted by family concerned by his choice of carer, Philippe says it's because of Driss' lack of pity that he values the young man's company.
The film draws on the true story of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and his carer, Abdel Sellou, who were discovered by The Intouchables' directors via a documentary. The directors enlisted Cesar Best Actor award winner Francois Cluzet to play Philippe and Omar Sy to play Driss. The brilliant Sy recently won the 2012 Best Actor Cesar award for the role.
The Intouchables is a film with robust and relentless humour, woven expertly within two tales of disadvantage - one character's disability is physical, the other's is social. It has a richness which is sometimes lacking in humorous films. Several times I laughed uncontrollably until my eyes were wet.
Meanwhile, my friend bawled (admittedly she is heavily-pregnant, so it doesn't take much).
After watching this film, Boogie Wonderland will never sound the same.
(M) 112 minutes