Francois Cluzet stars in this feelgood French hit as a quadriplegic millionaire who employs a streetwise African schemer (Omar Sy) to be his carer. In what appears an ill-advised mis-match, it's classical music versus Earth, Wind And Fire as the odd couple overcome class and racial barriers to find they can get out of the relationship as much as they put in. Based on a true story, this funny and touching dramedy is a breath of bromantic fresh air. Vive les differences!
Anne Le Ny
They live in the same city but they might as well be in different worlds.
One is Philippe, an urbane, paraplegic millionaire who lives in a vast Parisian mansion, keeps a Maserati in the driveway (although he can never use it), is waited on by fussing staff and thinks nothing of splashing 40,000 Euros on a piece of modern art.
The other is Driss, a Sengalese immigrant ducker and diver, a cheeky ladies' man who's just been evicted from his grim tower block by his end-of-her-tether aunt after he appeared out of the blue after going missing (he was doing six months for robbery).
Driss find himself entering Philippe's rarefied world when he turns up for a job as a live-in carer to satisfy the demands of the benefit office...but only wants his signature to say he's applied - not the job.
He gets it anyway...and agrees to stay when he's shown his palatial quarters, including a majestic bathroom, and the chance of something more with Philippe's attractive PA Magalie (Audrey Fleurot).
After initial distaste at having to aid Philippe in some of his more bodily functions, Driss begins to connect with his employer, a former adventurer crippled in paragliding accident whose wife died before they could have children.
A midnight outing beside the Seine to soothe Philippe's "phantom pain" cements their relationship when Driss tempts him into a toot on a joint and before you know it the carer has invited in a hooker to massage Philippe's remaining erogenous zone - his ears.
Writer-directors Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache have crafted a solid, richly-drawn comedy drama based on a true story, except that the Driss character was originally Algerian.
Sy is effortlessly charismatic as Driss, a poor immigrant who never plays the victim card and whose resilience and can-do optimism provides the catalyst for Philippe to live (and love) again.
Ultimately, it's an unashamed feelgood movie devoid of any real dramatic shocks, preferring to coast along in a pleasing - if unchallenging - formulaic arc.