Philippe (played by Francois Cluzet) is a millionaire living in Paris. He’s forty-two and looking for a full time carer to attend to his every personal need – he is paralysed from the neck down as a result of an accident while he was para-gliding. A Senegalese immigrant who has had a hard life, Driss (by Omar Sy) is unemployed and he is not really interested in finding a job. With no relevant experience whatsoever, he presents himself for interview with Philippe, expecting instant rejection but also the signature he needs to collect his ongoing unemployment benefit. However, the plan doesn’t quite work out that way – something about him appeals to Philippe and Driss is duly hired as his carer and given lodgings as one of the staff in the millionaire’s magnificent home. The pair couldn’t be more different, but a mutual respect and friendship slowly develops between them as they get to know each other ….
This is a lovely movie – based on the true story told in Abdel Sellou’s memoir “You Changed My Life” of his life as “caretaker” to Count Philippe Pozzo di Borgo. The scenarios are realistic and very honest, with marvellous performances by both Cluzet and Sy. The soundtrack really complements the story very well and the entire movie is quite compelling. Only weeks after its release in November 2011, it became the second biggest box office hit in France, just behind the 2008 film “Welcome to the Sticks”. It was voted the cultural event of 2011 in France and was nominated for eight César Awards including the César Award for Best Actor which was won by Omar Sy. Cluzet often looks spookily like Dustin Hoffman, which is confusing at times. Overall this movie is really great – I liked it a lot. It’s a feel-good, odd couple movie with a very nice undertone of acceptance, trust and respect.
Made in 2011. Directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano.