This French tale, based on a true story, was a huge hit on its native shores and has now become the most financially successful French language film of all time. It's fully deserving of its success. Lead performer Sy won the Best Actor Cesar award for his lively turn as an itinerant offender who takes on the job of carer to a millionaire quadriplegic. The contrast between the two characters certainly isn't subtle, but it is charming. And both actors are superb.
Sy as Driss gives the tale its propulsion. He's a chancer from the wrong side of the tracks, an immigrant who has done time. He can't believe the luxury of his accommodation when he moves into the stately, well maintained Paris mansion of Philippe (Cluzet). The latter has been paralysed from the neck down after a paragliding accident and needs constant care. Philippe is a sophisticate with romantic yearnings – he dictates flowery letters of love to a woman he has not met. Driss shakes him out of his stupor and starts making him,live again. The two men strike up a bond and as their friendship develops they each learn from each other's temperaments.
Driss takes Philippe on fast car journeys and shares massage routines with him. Philippe lets Driss accompany him to the opera – his reaction to this new experience is a delight – and introduces him to art. The clash of cultures is obvious but endearing and there are some genuine laugh out loud moments as the new interloper adjusts to his gilded surroundings, not least always trying to hit on Philippe's attractive PA (Fleurot).
Cluzet is excellent as the disabled millionaire. It's a subtle, persuasive turn – and he's immensely moving when discussing how he came to be in his present state. Sy is equally good – at first selfish and churlish but soon becoming very likeable as he energetically draws out the staid personalities of Philippe and his staff. He completely wins them – and us – over. As does the movie. It's a warm and amusing tale of an unlikely friendship, a buddy movie in the best sense of the word – always engaging, smoothly touching and very satisfying. Don't miss it.
EXTRAS ★ Just half a dozen deleted scenes, and some trailers.