Showing @ Filmhouse, Edinburgh until Thu 18 Oct

Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano / France / 2011 / 112 min

Disability is hardly ever a subject associated with feel-good comedy. Films always run the risk of serious backlash if the director appears to be trivialising such a tempestuous issue. But writers/directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano prove that it can make for an extremely successful and stirring tale. Based on a true story, Untouchable follows the life of wealthy quadriplegic Philippe (François Cluzet) and his unorthodox relationship with live-in carer Driss (Omar Sy), a working class ex-con who surprisingly turns both their lives around.

Unlike anything corny Hollywood narratives have to offer, Untouchable is at ease with intimacy, shows a willingness to ridicule and is committed to exploring disability in all its brutal honesty. Nakache and Toledano have created something extremely distinctive – a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is willing to laugh at darker issues. The casting of Cluzet and Sy confirms a fresh authenticity, as the directors explore how cursory the odd coupling of these two characters appears – and the reaction it causes. Together, Sy and Cluzet are remarkable, embracing the funny side of their time together yet still confronting the emotional turmoil that comes with handling severe disability. As Driss breaks many class conventions with his pragmatic outlook to caring for Philippe, Untouchable affirms itself as an exceptionally inspiring story of human friendship.