The Intouchables (2011) Movie Explained

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Written By Mohateasam Pavel


Today I will explain you a biography, comedy, and drama film from 2011, titled The Intouchables.

Spoilers ahead!

IMDb Rating 8.5 !!!

One late night in Paris, Driss is driving his employer Philippe through the city. When waiting in traffic gets too boring, Driss breaks the speed limit and begins driving quite fast, dodging other cars and not caring about traffic signs. This causes the police to go after him, and Driss bets 100 euros that he can lose them, but after driving under a bridge, the cops catch up by ambushing them from both sides. Driss doesn’t look too worried though, and this time, he bets 200 euros that he can get them an escort. The cops make him leave the car and he starts acting then, behaving offendedly and telling them Philippe can’t move and he was taking him to the hospital. The officers find proof of this when they find the wheelchair in the truck and, when approaching Philippe, they see him convulsing, which is also an actor. Seeing as it’s an emergency, the cops forgive Driss for breaking the speed limit and offer themselves as escorts on his way to the hospital. To celebrate winning the bet, Driss plays “September” by “Earth, Wind & Fire”, and when they arrive at their destination, he shares a smoke with Philippe as soon as the cops are gone.

Driss promises he’ll handle it and drives them away just before the hospital staff could find them. This friendship began many months ago. Philippe and his assistant Magalie are holding interviews to find a new caretaker for him, but it isn’t going too well, because all applicants have very standard or awkward answers to their interview questions.

But they’re suddenly surprised when Driss storms in, ignoring the fact it isn’t his turn quite yet, because he only wants some papers to be signed saying they won’t hire him so he can get the unemployment benefits. He’s blunt and a little rude, even hitting on Magalie, but Philippe finds him amusing and asks him to come back the next day for his signed papers. Driss goes back to his home in a humble neighborhood and tries to take a bath while all his little siblings bother him, only managing to get it done in time thanks to his sister Mina, who is a bit older than the others and more responsible.

While waiting for their mom to arrive, he looks through the window and notices his brother Adama getting out of a suspicious car. When the boy enters the apartment, he just says he was at school and leaves again after grabbing his bag, causing Driss to be even more sure that he’s up to something. In the evening, his mom arrives, and he gifts him a Fabergé egg he stole and tells her he’s been away on vacation when she asks. She isn’t happy to see him though, because he disappeared for six months and never called, and now he’s shown up out of nowhere as if her home was a hotel.

As she’s absolutely done with all his lies and she has other children she has to take care of, she kicks him out and tells him not to come back. Driss spends the night having a smoke and some snacks with some neighborhood friends. The next day, Driss goes back to Philippe’s house for his papers, and he’s received by the housekeeper, Yvonne, who shows him around the place and tells him about Philippe’s daily routine, she also shows him the room he would get for himself with his very own bathroom. Driss can’t help staring at the bathtub before he’s dragged to see Philippe, who offers the signed sheet of paper but also a job opportunity. Driss accepts the one-month trial, and Philippe tells him he bets he won’t last two weeks. After bringing his things to his room, Driss is taught how to take care of Philippe.

He must learn how to keep his legs stimulated, how to put him in the wheelchair, how to help him shower and change his clothes. Things get awkward when Driss discovers he must put on him some high stockings and even clean his butt after Philippe uses the bathroom, but no matter how much he complains and says he won’t do those chores, he ends up accepting them as part of his job. Later in the evening, while he’s enjoying a snack on the roof, he’s interrupted by Philippe’s daughter Elisa and her boyfriend Bastien, who are looking for a private place to make out, and he kicks them both out after refusing to share his beer. Driss quickly gets used to the daily routine with Philippe, even if at first he does make some mistakes he learns from, like handing the phone to Philippe instead of putting it on his ear or forgetting the baby monitor while having a bath.

He also learns to organize his mail in different folders – most of the letters he opens for Philippe, but there’s a series of private ones he isn’t allowed to look at. When he finds a flier promoting female escorts, he decides to start a file just for those instead of throwing them in the trash as Philippe says. It’s not all work in this new life though, Driss still makes sure to have a good time – he keeps trying to hit on Magalie to no avail, and sometimes calls escorts to join him in bed.

One morning, after Yvonne comes to his room to scold him for being late, she finds some dangerous weapons in his bag, but she doesn’t comment on them yet. Driss’ work today is to drive Philippe around, but he refuses to put him in the back of a van as if he was cargo, so instead, he takes him on one of the fancy cars that don’t see much use. Philippe, who first thinks this isn’t suitable and says they should be pragmatic, is soon getting excited at the idea of a faster, less boring ride, although Yvonne still disapproves. When they try to leave the building, there’s a neighbor parked at their entrance, ignoring the sign on the door that says it’s forbidden. Driss wastes no time and goes after the guy, grabbing him by the front of his shirt and threatening him until he moves the car. Philippe is impressed by his actions, but Yvonne, once again, disapproves.

The pair goes to a museum, where Philippe is planning to buy a piece of artwork that Driss considers not worth the money because it’s just a red blotch on the canvas. Afterward, Philippe meets with a relative of his, who tells him everyone is worried about Driss since he can be violent. He’s also discovered he has a criminal record, but Philippe doesn’t care: he appreciates Driss because he doesn’t pity him and doesn’t mind joking around with him. After another failed attempt at hitting on Magalie, Driss has dinner with Yvonne in the kitchen while listening to Philippe dictate a letter to Magalie.

Claiming it’s a private conversation, Yvonne turns off the baby monitor and proceeds to explain what’s going on: Philippe is penpals with a woman called Eléonore, those are the letters he didn’t let Driss open. But he’s never met Eléonore in person, their relationship is purely epistolar. Speaking of love, Driss teases Yvonne for the looks the gardener gives her all the time before going to bed. He’s trying to sleep when he hears some weird sounds coming from the baby monitor: Philippe is having trouble breathing. Not being capable to ignore him even if he tries, Driss goes to his room and gently guides him through the attack with soothing words and a wet cloth to wipe his face. Philippe eventually falls asleep, only to wake up again moments later, saying he needs air. This time Driss doesn’t hesitate: he puts Philippe on the wheelchair, covers him with blankets, and takes him out for a stroll by the river.

This is the first time Philippe has seen Paris at night in a long time, and now he’s more relaxed, he explains to Driss that the medicine can only do so much and he sometimes experiences phantom pain. When they see some girls walking by, Philippe also confesses he isn’t capable of pleasuring a woman because of his situation, but he still can enjoy some satisfaction when he gets his ears massaged because they are sensitive zones. When the phantom pain threatens to appear again, Driss shares one of his joints with Philippe, who is skeptical at first but ends up loving it. Afterward, they go to a restaurant, where they joke around while sharing a meal, and Philippe decides to share more of his story.

He met his wife when they were students, and shortly after they got married, she had five miscarriages and was diagnosed with an incurable, terminal illness. That’s when they adopted Elisa. Philippe has always loved competitions, extreme sports, and speed; and a paraglider gave him that. It was during a paragliding session that bad weather caused him to crash and break his vertebrae, although he still thinks his real handicap isn’t the chair but living without his wife. After joking around so more, Philippe remembers the date and realizes Driss has passed his one-month trial, so he’s now officially hired. But he needs to start by bringing back the Fabergé egg he stole because it was a gift from his wife – she would give him one every year, and he has exactly twenty-five, matching their time together. The next day, Driss goes to talk to Mina when she’s leaving school, who is a bit offended because he hasn’t been answering her messages except to ask her to look for the egg, she also tells him about some cops that have been calling their home.

Afterward, he visits Adama, who confesses he was found with thirty grams on him. Driss wants to take him to lunch, but Adama refuses and instead gets in the same suspicious car from before. Later on, Driss is allowed to be present while Philippe dictates his letter for Eléonore to Magalie. He thinks this purple prose is very boring and that Philippe should be more direct, he’s also baffled to hear that this has been going on for six months and they never exchanged pictures. When he finds her phone number on one of the letters, he takes it as a sign and calls her, obliging Philippe to take the phone and finally speak to her outside the written word. Their conversation goes so well, Philippe is now on the phone with her all the time, even right before he and Driss attend the opera, during which Driss laughs and makes fun of the costumes. The next day, Driss convinces Philippe to accept to exchange pictures with Eléonore and chooses one of him in the wheelchair. Afterward, while he’s painting, Elisa bursts into his room to ask him for cigarettes and makes fun of him for trying to be artistic. Getting angry, he kicks her out before going to see Philippe, who is currently asking Yvonne to change the chosen picture for one of him when he wasn’t quadriplegic. She hides the picture inside the escort file right before Driss burst in, complaining about Elisa and telling Philippe he needs to discipline her, something Yvonne agrees with.

Philippe agrees to talk to her, but he’s mostly surprised when Driss lets it slip that he’s been painting. Days continue to pass, and the friendship between Philippe and Driss continues to grow. Driss takes him to play in the snow and brings him with him when he goes out for a run, Philippe gets him his first suit and scolds his daughter while Driss listens to him through the baby monitor. When Driss finishes his first painting, he shows it to Magalie, who slaps him when he tries to kiss her. Philippe, however, likes the painting and promises he’ll try to sell it. The two of them have a great time with each other, enjoying things like getting a faster car, sharing joints, and even hiring escorts together. When Philippe’s birthday comes, he isn’t very excited about it. Every year, he pretends to be surprised that they’re throwing a party and has to meet with all these relatives that only come to see him on the date to check he’s still alive. Philippe says it’ll all be rather boring.

While he and the guests enjoy some live classical music, Driss searches for Elisa, who is crying in her room after having taken some of Yvonne’s pills, which won’t kill her as she expected. The reason why she’s sad is that Bastien broke up with her and called her a tart, so she asks Driss to talk to the boy, which he accepts to do for a price. Meanwhile, Philippe is showing Driss’ painting to his relative and manages to convince him to buy it for eleven thousand euros. Driss goes back to the dining room and chats with Yvonne, who tells him Magalie is in a relationship with someone named Fred but things are rather rocky at the moment, giving Driss hope.

As the party begins to die down, Philippe makes Driss listen to some of the most important songs in classical music history, but he can only joke in response. After the band is done, he brings his I-pod and plays “Boogie Wonderland” by “Earth, Wind & Fire” before he starts dancing right in the middle of the floor. He’s an incredible dancer and even convinces the rest of the party to join him and dance with him, which Philippe enjoys watching. Later, when putting Philippe to bed, Driss opens Eléonore’s latest letter to him. She’s sent her picture, showing she’s rather pretty, and is telling him they should meet next week when she visits Paris. When the day of the date comes, Yvonne and Driss put Philippe through dozens of outfits until they find the perfect one. And since it’s Yvonne the one that will take Philipe to the date, Driss uses his day off to visit Bastien and threatens him until the boy accepts to apologize to Eliza and to bring her croissants every day; he also asks him to fix his hair. Afterward, he visits his mother at work, but only to watch her from afar.

At the restaurant, Yvonne and Philippe are waiting for Eléonore, who is very late. After waiting for an hour, Philippe gives up, calls Driss to ask him to take him away, and then leaves the restaurant without noticing Eléonore is arriving at the same time. That same night, Philippe takes Driss with him in his private plane and gives him the money he got for selling the picture, making him immeasurably happy. They make it to the countryside the next morning, and Philippe decides to go paragliding, dragging Driss with him as well. Driss doesn’t want anything to do with it, but after initially freaking out, he ends up enjoying the experience. When they return home, Adama is there waiting for Driss and gets scolded when he sees the scars on his face. Adama will still not tell Driss what’s happening in his life though, so Driss makes him wait in his room while he calls Mina to tell her not to worry and goes to put Philippe to bed. Philippe, however, isn’t sleepy yet. After making Driss look at a painting with him, he asks him about his family, which Driss at first doesn’t want to talk about, but eventually gives in. It turns out Adama technically isn’t his brother and his parents aren’t actually his parents, they’re his aunt and uncle. They fetched him from Senegal when he was eight because they couldn’t have kids, and his real name is Bakary Bassari, but because other kids had that name, they called him Idriss, and that became Driss. One day, his aunt miraculously was able to conceive, and after his uncle died, there were other men and more kids as well. In the same way Driss had talked to him about Elisa, Philippe points out that Adama needs discipline, so he fires Driss so he can be there with his family because he can’t spend his whole life taking care of an old man.

The next morning, after Bastien has brought his daily croissant while wearing a better hairdo, Driss packs his bags and gets ready to go. Magalie comes to say her goodbyes, and when Driss tries to hit on her one last time, Magalie introduces him to his significant other Fred, which is short for Frédérique – turns out Magalie isn’t interested in men, and Driss gives up on the spot. On his way out of the house, he gives the baby monitor back to Yvonne and teases her for having lied to him about Magalie just to mess with him. In return, she gives him the escort file he had started, and he’s disappointed to find the picture he had chosen is hidden there. Driss throws away the file, but he keeps the photo for himself. Once outside, he finds a car once again blocking the entrance, so he asks him to move away even if he doesn’t work there anymore.

When Adama calls him out for it, Driss says is a matter of principle. A few hours later, the two brothers go pick up their mother at the station while back at the house, Philippe is having his first dinner together with his new caretaker, who is stuffy and boring, and Philippe decides to leave him without even having a bite. Since Yvonne is out on a date with the gardener, nobody is there to scold him for it. As days pass, Driss goes back to his old life. He hangs out with his old friends again and tells the guys from the suspicious car not to bother Adama anymore. When he goes to an interview he doesn’t have enough experience for, he manages to win over the employer by calling himself “pragmatic” and using all the art knowledge he acquired while working for Philippe. This lands him a job as a driver.

Philippe continues to dislike his new caretaker and is in a constant bad mood. One night, he refuses anyone in the house to help him with his phantom pain, so Yvonne calls Driss and asks him to come over. That’s how they find themselves in the situation from the beginning, with the cops chasing after them first and escorting them to the hospital later. After that little adventure, Driss drives Philippe to the coast, and the sight of the sea helps Philippe calm down. Sometime later, Driss takes care of Philippe’s overgrown beard before taking him to a restaurant for lunch, but he doesn’t stay, because someone else will be making Philippe company today. Driss wishes him luck and finally gives him back his egg before leaving, and Philippe starts worrying about being alone until he sees who his date is: Eléonore, who is delighted to see him and doesn’t mind the chair at all.

The real Count Philippe Pozzo di Borgo now lives in Morocco, he has remarried and has two daughters. The real Driss, actually called Abdel Yasmin Sellou, has his own firm and is also married with three children. The two men continue to be very close friends to this day.

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