Eric Toledono and Olivier Nakache’s Weinstein-backed Oscar hopeful Untouchable (The Intouchables, 2011) receives its long-awaited UK cinema release this Friday (21 September) following huge box office takings in other territories around the world. Based on a true story, Untouchable recounts the blossoming relationship between wheelchair-bound French millionaire Philippe (François Cluzet) and his loyal carer Driss (Omar Sy).
Left in a paraplegic after a paragliding accident, Philippe employs street-wise ex-con Driss as his minder/physiotherapist, much to the dismay of the rest of his caring staff. However, following a rocky honeymoon period, the pair form an unlikely friendship and despite radically different backgrounds, discover more about themselves than they could possibly imagine.
Toledono and Nakache’s Untouchable has already received a collection of critical accolades and grossed more than $350 million worldwide, beating both the final Harry Potter franchise entry and Marvel’s Avengers Assemble in certain territories. The film also picked up 9 Cesar awards (the French equivalent of the Oscars) this year and remarkably managed to reach #74 in the IMDb’s Top 250 film chart, all of which suggests an extremely strong UK cinematic run ahead of ‘silly season’.
In many ways, this is a tale we’ve seen before in the forms of Driving Miss Daisy (1989), Mrs. Brown (1997) and many more. The contrast of wealth and poverty between the two leads evidently runs the risk of regurgitating tiresome cliché, but thankfully the final piece avoids such mawkish sentimentalism in favour of a more personal, matter-of-fact drama between two outcasts of Parisian society.
With an impressive cast assembled, Untouchable has all the signs of being a dramatic, emotive and (importantly) comic tale that explores life at its most raw. Make sure you manage to catch this genuinely touch French fancy before the upcoming English language remake strips away the original’s wit and intellect – Colin Firth is already rumoured to have been offered the role of Phillipe, with Paul Feig set to direct.
Toledono and Nakache’s Untouchable is released in UK cinemas nationwide on 21 September. We’ll have a full review of the film live on the site this Wednesday.