By: Mary Fran Bontempo

Oh, no, not subtitles!

I’ll confess, it was my first thought when a friend and I took in the award winning film, The Intouchables, last week at Doylestown, PA’s charming County Theater. But in a testament to the film’s heart, I barely even noticed that I was reading the dialogue running at the bottom of the screen.

A French language film, The Intouchables gifts movie-goers with the story of a blossoming friendship between thief, con man and ne’er-do-well, Driss (played by the highly appealing Omar Sy), and a wealthy quadriplegic, Philippe (a debonair Francois Cluzet), who becomes his unlikely employer.

Paralyzed in a hang-gliding accident and recovering from the loss of his wife, Philippe is surrounded by a devoted, but rather stodgy staff that see to his every need. His every physical need, that is. For while Philippe’s body may be frozen, his zest for life is not, and he sees in Driss the potential to psychologically break free of his wheelchair through Driss’ ability to be totally in the moment and take what life offers.

What follows once Driss takes on the caretaker role for Philippe is a transformation of both men born of a growing mutual respect, love and joie de vivre. The two share a love of fast cars, music and romance—not with each other; this is strictly a buddy movie—as Driss encourages Philippe to follow through and meet a woman with whom he has been trading letters while Driss tries mightily to seduce Philippe’s secretary. Along the way, the entire staff falls under Driss’ spell as he dances his way (literally) into their hearts.

Based on a true story chronicled in a 2004 documentary and the memoir entitled You Changed My Life by Abdel Sellou (Driss in the movie), The Intouchables is a delight—full of humor and a celebration of the human spirit.

Be sure to see this wonderful film. And don’t worry about the subtitles; I promise they won’t matter a bit.