The Intouchables (2011)


The Intouchables (2011)
Intouchables (original title)

In Paris, the aristocratic and intellectual Philippe is a quadriplegic millionaire who is interviewing candidates for the position of his carer, with his red-haired secretary Magalie. Out of the blue, Driss cuts the line of candidates and brings a document from the Social Security and asks Phillipe to sign it to prove that he is seeking a job position so he can receive his unemployment benefit. Philippe challenges Driss, offering him a trial period of one month to gain experience helping him. Then Driss can decide whether he would like to stay with him or not. Driss accepts the challenge and moves to the mansion, changing the boring life of Phillipe and his employees.
IMDb   8.5 /10
Metacritic   57 %
TheMovieDb    8.3 /10
FilmAffinity   8.0 /10
Release Date2011-11-02
Runtime1h 52mins
GenreBiography, Comedy, Drama
Content RatingR (R)
AwardsTop Rated Movies #45 | Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 38 wins & 39 nominations.
CompanyQuad Productions, Ten Films, Canal+
LanguageFrench, English

The Intouchables

The Intouchables (French: Intouchables, pronounced), also known as Untouchable in the UK, is a French buddy comedy-drama film directed by Olivier Nakache & Éric Toledano. It stars François Cluzet and Omar Sy. Nine weeks after its release in France on 2 November 2011, it became the second biggest box office hit in France, just behind the 2008 film Welcome to the Sticks. The film was voted the cultural event of 2011 in France with 52% of votes in a poll by Fnac. Until it was eclipsed in 2014 by Lucy, it was the most viewed French film in the world with 51.5 million tickets sold. The film received several award nominations. In France, the film won the César Award for Best Actor for Sy and garnered seven further nominations for the César Awards, including the César Award for Best Actor. Five percent of the movie's profit were given to Simon de Cyrène, an association that helps paralyzed people.


At night in Paris, Driss (Sy) is driving Philippe's (Cluzet) Maserati Quattroporte at high speed. They are chased through the streets by the police and eventually cornered. Driss claims the quadriplegic Philippe must be urgently driven to the emergency room; Philippe pretends to have a seizure and the fooled police officers escort them to the hospital.

The story of the friendship between the two men is then told as a flashback: Philippe, a wealthy quadriplegic who owns a luxurious hôtel particulier, and his assistant Magalie are interviewing candidates to be his live-in caregiver. Driss, a candidate, has no ambitions to get hired. He is just there to get a signature on a document showing he was interviewed and rejected so that he can continue receiving his welfare benefits. He is told to come back the next morning to collect his signed document.

The next day, Driss returns and is greeted by Yvonne, Philippe's aide, who tells him that he has been given the job of live-in caregiver on a trial basis. Despite being uninterested in the job and his lack of professional experience, Driss does well in caring for Philippe, even if his methods are sometimes unconventional. Driss learns the extent of Philippe's disability and accompanies Philippe in every moment of his life, assisting him in all the ways needed. A friend of Philippe's reveals Driss's criminal record which includes six months in jail for robbery. Philippe disregards the warnings, stating he does not care about Driss's past because he is the only one that does not treat him with pity. He says he will not fire him as long as he does his job properly.

Philippe discloses to Driss that he became disabled following a paragliding accident and that his wife died without bearing children. Gradually, Philippe is led by Driss to put some order in his private life, including being stricter with his adopted daughter Elisa. Driss discovers modern art, opera and even takes up painting. For Philippe's birthday, a private concert of classical music is performed in his living room. Philippe takes this opportunity to educate Driss on famous classical pieces, but Driss only recognizes them as advert music or cartoon themes. Feeling that the concert is too boring, Driss plays Earth, Wind & Fire's "Boogie Wonderland", resulting in a more lively birthday for Philippe with the guests also enjoying the music.

Driss discovers that Philippe has a purely epistolary relationship with a woman called Eléonore, who lives in Dunkirk. Driss encourages him to meet her, but Philippe fears her reaction when she discovers his disability. Driss convinces Philippe to talk to Eléonore on the phone. Philippe agrees with Driss to send a photo of him in a wheelchair to her, but he hesitates and asks his aide, Yvonne, to send a picture of him as he was before his accident. A date between Eléonore and Philippe is agreed. At the last minute, Philippe is too scared to meet Eléonore and leaves with Yvonne before Eléonore arrives. Philippe then calls Driss and invites him to travel with him in his Dassault Falcon 900 private jet for a paragliding weekend in the Alps.

Adama, Driss's younger cousin, who is in trouble with a gang, comes to fetch Driss at Phillipe's mansion on the pretext of delivering mail. Overhearing, Philippe recognizes Driss's need to be supportive to his family and releases him from his job, suggesting he may not want to push a wheelchair all his life.

Driss returns to his own neighbourhood, joins his friends and manages to help his younger cousin. In the meantime, Philippe has hired caregivers to replace Driss, but he is not happy with any of them. His morale is very low and he stops taking care of himself. He grows a beard and looks ill. Yvonne becomes worried and calls Driss back. Upon arrival, he decides to drive Philippe in the Maserati, which brings the story back to the initial police chase. After they have eluded the police, Driss takes Philippe to the seaside. Upon shaving and dressing elegantly, Philippe and Driss arrive at a Cabourg restaurant on the sea front. Driss suddenly leaves the table and says good luck to Philippe for his lunch date. A few seconds later, Eléonore arrives. Emotionally touched, Philippe looks through the window and sees Driss outside, smiling at him. Driss bids Philippe farewell and walks away as Phillipe and Eléonore chat and enjoy each other's company.

The film ends with shots of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and Abdel Sellou, the people on whom the story is based, together on a hillside, reminiscent of the paragliding scene earlier in the film. The closing caption states how the men remain close friends to this day.


The plot of the film is inspired by the true story of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and his French-Moroccan caregiver Abdel Sellou, discovered by the directors in À la vie, à la mort, a documentary film.


  • François Cluzet as Philippe
  • Omar Sy as Bakary "Driss" Bassari
  • Audrey Fleurot as Magalie
  • Anne Le Ny as Yvonne
  • Clotilde Mollet as Marcelle
  • Alba Gaïa Bellugi as Elisa
  • Joséphine de Meaux as Nathalie Lecomte
  • Cyril Mendy as Adama, Driss's cousin
  • Christian Ameri as Albert
  • Grégoire Oestermann as Antoine
  • Marie-Laure Descoureaux as Chantal
  • Absa Dialou Toure as Mina
  • Salimata Kamate as Fatou
  • Thomas Soliveres as Bastien
  • Dorothée Brière-Meritte as Éléonore
  • Caroline Bourg as Fred
  • Émilie Caen as The gallerist


The film received mostly positive reviews from critics and holds a 75% approval rating at the film review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, based on 122 reviews, and an average score of 6.7/10. The consensus states, "It handles its potentially prickly subject matter with kid gloves, but Intouchables gets by thanks to its strong cast and some remarkably sensitive direction." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 57 out of 100, based on 31 ratings of professional critics.

Critical response in the UK

The film divided critics in the UK. Upon the film's 21 September 2012 UK release under the title Untouchable, The Independent called it "a third-rate buddy movie that hardly understands its own condescension....Why has the world flipped for this movie? Maybe it's the fantasy it spins on racial/social/cultural mores, much as Driving Miss Daisy did 20-odd years ago – uptight rich white employer learns to love through black employee's life-force. That was set in the segregationist America of the 1940s. What's this film's excuse?" Robbie Collin of The Telegraph called it "as broad, accessible and trombonishly unsubtle as a subtitled Driving Miss Daisy"; according to Collin, the "characters are conduits for charisma rather than great dramatic roles, but the horseplay between Sy and Cluzet is often very funny, and one joke bounces merrily into the next." Nigel Farndale, also of The Telegraph, said: "The film, which is about to be released in Britain, has been breaking box-office records in France and Germany, and one of the reasons seems to be that it gives the audience permission to laugh with, not at, people with disabilities, and see their lives as they have never seen them before."


The film won the Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix award given to the best film at the Tokyo International Film Festival and the Award for Best Actor to both Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy in 2011. At the César Awards 2012, the film received eight nominations. Omar Sy received the César Award for Best Actor on 24 February 2012 for the role of Driss (defeating Jean Dujardin, nominated for The Artist) and being the first French African actor to receive this honor.

In September 2012, it was announced that The Intouchables had been selected as the French entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar for the 85th Academy Awards. In December 2012, it made the January shortlist, but was ultimately not selected for inclusion among the final nominees.

List of awards and nominations
AwardCategoryRecipients and nomineesResult
African-American Film Critics AssociationBest Foreign FilmWon
British Academy Film AwardsBest Film Not in the English LanguageEric Toledano, Olivier Nakache, Nicolas Duval Adassovsky, Yann Zenou, Laurent ZeitounNominated
Broadcast Film Critics AssociationBest Foreign Language FilmNominated
César AwardsBest FilmNominated
Best DirectorEric Toledano and Olivier NakacheNominated
Best ActorOmar SyWon
François CluzetNominated
Best Supporting ActressAnne Le NyNominated
Best Original ScreenplayEric Toledano and Olivier NakacheNominated
Best CinematographyMathieu VadepiedNominated
Best EditingDorian Rigal-AnsousNominated
Best SoundPascal Armant, Jean Goudier, and Jean-Paul HurierNominated
Chicago Film Critics AssociationBest Foreign-Language FilmNominated
Czech Lion AwardsBest Foreign Language FilmWon
David di Donatello AwardsBest European FilmWon
European Film AwardsBest FilmNominated
Best ActorFrançois Cluzet and Omar SyNominated
Best ScreenwriterEric Toledano and Olivier NakacheNominated
Golden Globe AwardsBest Foreign Language FilmNominated
Golden Trailer AwardsBest MusicNominated
Best Foreign Comedy TrailerWon
Goya AwardsBest European FilmWon
Houston Film Critics SocietyBest Foreign Language FilmNominated
NAACP Image AwardsOutstanding International Motion PictureWon
Phoenix Film Critics SocietyBest Foreign-Language FilmWon
San Diego Film Critics SocietyBest Foreign Language FilmNominated
Satellite AwardsBest Foreign Language FilmWon
Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or ComedyOmar SyNominated
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics AssociationBest Foreign-Language FilmWon
Tokyo International Film FestivalTokyo Grand PrixWon
Best ActorFrançois Cluzet and Omar SyWon
Vilnius International Film FestivalBest Film (The Audience Award)Won
Washington D. C. Area Film Critics AssociationBest Foreign Language FilmNominated
London's Favourite French Film 2013Best FilmWon

Box office

After four weeks, by 25 November 2011, The Intouchables had already become the most-watched film in France in 2011. After sixteen weeks, more than 19 million people had seen the film in France. On 10 January 2012, The Intouchables set a record, having been number one for ten consecutive weeks since its release in France. The film has grossed $166 million in France and $444.7 million worldwide as of 12 May 2013.

On 20 March 2012, The Intouchables became the highest-grossing movie in a language other than English with $281 million worldwide. It broke the previous record set by the Japanese film Spirited Away ($274.9 million), also breaking the record for the highest-grossing French film, surpassing The Fifth Element ($263.9 million). In July 2012, it became the top grossing foreign language film of 2012 in North America, surpassing A Separation.

The film has also done well in several other European countries, topping charts in Germany for nine consecutive weeks, Switzerland for eleven weeks, Austria for six weeks, Poland for three weeks, and Italy, Spain and Belgium for one week, as of 20 May 2012.

  • With more than 30 million tickets sold outside France it is the most successful French film shot in French since at least 1994.
  • In the United States, it is the fourth highest-grossing French-language film since 1980.
  • In Germany, it is the most successful French film shot in any language since at least 1968.
  • In Italy, it is the most successful French film shot in French since at least 1997.
  • In Spain, it is the second most successful French film shot in French since at least 1994 behind Asterix & Obelix Take on Caesar (3.7 million admissions) released in 1999.
  • In South Korea, it is the most successful French film shot in French since at least 1994.
  • In Switzerland, it is the most successful French film shot in any language and the second most successful film from any nationalities behind Titanic, since at least 1995.
  • In Belgium, it is the second most successful French film shot in any language since at least 1996 behind Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis (1,148,179 admissions).
  • In Austria, it is the most successful French film shot in any language since at least 1994.
  • In the Netherlands, it is the most successful French film shot in any language since at least 1994.
  • In Poland, it is the fourth most successful French film shot in French since at least 1998 behind Amélie (758,201 admissions), Asterix at the Olympic Games (685,800 admissions) and Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra (680,010 admissions).
  • In Israel, it is the most successful French film shot in French since at least 2002.
  • In Canada (French), it is the fourth most successful French film shot in French since 1 January 2000 (as of 29 March 2012) behind Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra (651,582 admissions), Amélie (569,523 tickets) and The Chorus (364,052 tickets sold).
  • In Portugal, with 146,000 tickets sold in 5 weeks, it is the 6th most successful French film shot in French since at least 1994.
  • In Japan, it is the most successful French film ever.
RankCountryTickets sold
5South Korea1,718,097
8United States / Canada1,143,200
10Belgium / Luxembourg961,820
16Canada (French)254,435
18Russia (CIS)175,475
22Hong Kong88,400
23Hungary (Budapest)75,512
25Czech Republic60,004
31Serbia / Montenegro15,835
Total outside France31,042,614 ·
Worldwide total50,482,614
Worldwide gross$444,700,000 ·


Telugu and Tamil

In 2015 it was announced that Vamsi Paidipally would be directing a Telugu adaptation titled Oopiri, which would also be shot in Tamil as Thozha. Both versions star Nagarjuna and Karthi as its male leads. They were released on 25 March 2016.


Inseparables is a 2016 Argentinian remake written and directed by Marcos Carnevale.


In July 2011, in addition to acquiring distribution rights in English-speaking countries, Scandinavian countries and China, The Weinstein Company acquired the rights to remake The Intouchables in English. In June 2012, Paul Feig was slated to direct and write the script, with Chris Rock, Jamie Foxx and Idris Elba eyed for the role of Abdel, Colin Firth in talks for Phillip, and Jessica Chastain and Michelle Williams considered for a female lead.

By March 2013, Feig dropped out of directing, with Tom Shadyac in talks to replace him, and Chris Tucker was in consideration for Abdel. In October 2014, Kevin Hart was cast as Abdel, with Firth still attached as Phillip.

In March 2016, it was announced that Bryan Cranston was cast, replacing Firth. Simon Curtis was to direct Cranston and Hart from a screenplay written by Feig.

By August 2016, Curtis presumably dropped out of directing. Neil Burger was announced as his replacement. A script by Jon Hartmere would be used rather than Feig's work.

In January 2017, Nicole Kidman and Genevieve Angelson joined the cast of the film, now officially titled Untouchable. In February 2017, Aja Naomi King and Julianna Margulies joined the cast. On 2 August 2017, the film's title was changed to The Upside.

The film was released on 11 January 2019.


In 2014, rights to The Intouchables were sold to Bollywood filmmakers Karan Johar and Guneet Monga. Johar's Dharma Productions and Monga's Sikhya Entertainment will produce a remake, which will be directed by Mohit Suri. Saif Ali Khan, Varun Dhawan, Tamannaah Bhatia, and Prakash Raj are confirmed to star in the film.