Based on True Story: The Intouchable & 127 Hours

I always have soft spot for movies based on true story, I am not talking about biopic movies for famous people because those movies often exaggerate things. True story as in the life of unknown people are often more heartfelt.

I watched two Based on True story movies last month, but because of one and many things I couldn’t publish my review till today. Something else always got in the way.

I was planning to write one  post for one movie review because one of them is for my Cinema World series, then I realized that i don’t have enough time to share my reviews if I did one post per review, hence I put the two together. I will have another short review of many movies later this months. I guess having a blog that covers many hobbies kinda give limited time to share things 😉 … but even so, I am not going to specialize my blog, I like it how it is 🙂

Here are the movies:


The Intouchable (2011)

The_IntouchablesSometimes you have to reach into someone else’s world to find out what’s missing in your own.

Director: Olivier Nakache, Éric Toledano
Writers: Olivier Nakache, Éric Toledano
Starring: François Cluzet, Omar Sy, Audrey Fleurot, Clotilde Mollet, Anne Le Ny, Alba Gaïa Kraghede Bellugi,     Cyril Mendy, Christian Ameri, Grégoire Oestermann, Marie-Laure Descoureaux, Absa Dialou Toure, Salimata Kamate.
Based on the life of: Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and his caregiver Abdel Sellou
Rating: 4 stars

The Intouchable is a very lovely movie, I always enjoy friendship movie more than any movie because I value friendship a lot.

The movie is told as a flashback. Police tried to stop Philippe’s car which is driven by Driss. Driss has no license to drive so they come up with a very convincing lie. Once they are free from the police, the flashback begins. Philippe (François Cluzet), a very rich quadriplegic, and his assistant are interviewing candidates to be his live-in caregiver. The candidates are mostly trained nurse but none seemed to appeal to Philippe. Driss (Omar Sy) is among the candidates, but he isn’t there to get the job, he cares more in getting rejection letter so that he can continue his welfare benefit. Beyond expectation, the free spirit Driss attracted Philippe the most and asks him to come back the next day.

When Driss comes to Philippe’s big mansion to get his rejection letter but to his surprise Philippe offers him the job. With no experience at all in taking care of disable people, Driss soon learnt that he can do a lot more than taking care of Philippe, he can be his friend.

The movie feels warm and the chemistry between Cluzet and Sy as Philippe and Driss is really good. They are very believable as friends. Acting wise, the two are equal. The way Cluzet has to stay still and only shows emotion through facial expression matches the way Sy portrays Driss as a carefree person. They do their part without overdoing it.

The Intouchable shows good movie doesn’t need extravagant special effect which is quite a trend in nowadays blockbuster movies…all it needs is good story with a lot of heart. It’s also a nice comedy.

…and to no surprise, Hollywood is planning a remake *roll eyes*, can’t you just watch good movies with foreign language without it being turned into English?

Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and Abdel Sellou
Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and Abdel Sellou

This French movie is part of my Cinema World Series hosted by Caroline @ Beauty is a Sleeping Cat


127 Hours (2010)


Director: Danny Boyle
Screenplay: Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy
Starring: James Franco, Amber Tamblyn, Kate Mara
Based on: Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston
Rating: 3 stars

I have been curious about this movie since its release date…however this isn’t the kind of movie I’d like to watch in cinema…so I wait for the DVD. It took more time to finally buy and watch it. I don’t know why I kept delaying it.

127 Hours can be considered as a one man show because most of the time we only see James Franco as Aron Ralston. I like one man show if it was done nicely…having said that I think 127 Hours is a bit weak as a one man show. I think Franco lacks of persona that can keep people glued watching nothing but him. Take example of Tom Hanks in Cast Away and Ryan Reynolds in Buried…those two are amazing!! They can make me forget the fact that there isn’t anyone else on the screen but him (Hanks/Reynolds). What kept me glued to 127 Hours is my curiosity, I was very curious to know how Aron manages to get away from his unlucky situation.

Aron Ralston is a climber and canyoneer. One faithful day, 25 April 2003 to be exact, Ralston goes to Utah’s Canyonlands National Park, he doesn’t tell anyone where he is going. He meets a couple of girls and promises to come to their party. He arrives in Blue John Canyon, hopping from one rock to another. In one of the gap, the rock comes loose and Ralston falls down along with the rock. The rock smashes his left hand to the canyon wall. Ralston can’t take his hand off of the rock. The situation forces him to stay there for days. He tries everything to get his hand loose, from chipping the rock to lifting it and finally cutting his hand off. Being down there for days makes him imagines stuff and reflects on his past life.

This is a bit of spoiler:  I have been watching movies with bloody scenes since elementary. I didn’t flinch when Arnold peeled his eyes off in Terminator (I wasn’t even 12 years old at that time) nor I closed my eyes when Rain chopped of human bodies with his sword in Ninja Assassin…all of those scenes were nothing but special effect…BUT when Franco tried to cut his hand off, I flinched and almost shut my eyes despite the fact I know that it’s nothing but effect. What made me flinch was the fact that the scene was based on true event, the real Aron Ralston really cut his hand off.

It’s fascinating how the will to live can easily beat the most painful wound we inflicted upon ourselves. What Ralston did is similar to a man (I have forgotten his name) who got stuck in a building during the big earthquake in Padang few years ago, he sawed his own leg so that he could get out of the collapsing building.

I really like the view on this movie. The canyon is beautiful. I give two thumbs up for the cinematography. Boyle really knows his stuff when it comes to cinematography…however, as I have said above, I am not convinced with Franco. The movie feels flat and lacks of emotion. Critics said that Franco was good but having seen Hanks and Reynolds, what Franco did was nothing compared to them (in my opinion). As a whole, I still enjoy the movie because it shows amazing power to survive.

Aron Ralston and Wife
Aron Ralston and Wife


The Intouchable

127 Hours


  1. I really enjoyed Intouchables but I wasn’t that fond of 127 hours. I think the true story of the climber is amazing, but the movie didn’t do it for me. And I hated watching the arm scene so that may have something to do with it.

    1. Me too. There’s something missing in the movie. 127hours is a flat movie for me. I am curious about the book, is it the same or has more emotion in it.

  2. Hm, adding both those films to my must-watch list! From the trailer alone of 127 I can see what you mean by it being a bit “flat”, it is shown to be more of a humourous, “party” movie or something. But, I’d probably enjoy it anyway for the story and of course the scenery 😀

    Have you ever seen “Into the Wild”? It’s based on a non-fiction book which is based on a real-life happening aswell. If you mildly enjoyed 127 hours, you may love this one. It’s one of my fav movies, very emotional, real and not too “plastic”!

    1. If you like complicated movie, I’d say you put my next review to your must watch list 😉 It’s one of those rare movies. I am going to write it now and published it later today.

      Ah yes, I forgot to compare it Into The Wild, that one has more emotion than 127 hours. Beautiful scenery and the actor played really well, we can feel his pain and regret through his act.

    1. Thank you Audrey…well, that will never happen 😉 I already have one specialized blog, my turtle’s blog…this one will stay random for as long as I blog

  3. I loved the film Intouchables and I’ve read both the books of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and Abdel Sellou (Driss in the movie), that give much more information about the real story and touched me a lot. I also read the book “Tous Intouchables?” that is full of beautiful messages for our society. Just search in the internet and you will find out a lot about the real Philippe and Abdel. I suggest you to watch some interviews of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo in english (this man has so much to teach everybody about how to approach life and human relations!):

    For those who speek French ther is much more to see and there is also a wonderful German documentary “37 Grad Ziemlich beste Freunde” that you can find in YouTube.
    Actulally I don’t mind that there will be an american version of the movie, because it will be one more opportunity to change the look of people towards the handicap and the fragility. I think that the modern society needs to become more human and if a movie can influence that (and the first one certainly did it) I can only be welcome.
    I just hope the movie will be at least as good as the French one.

    1. Hi I-k p 🙂
      So nice of you to read my review and leave a comment with that wonderful link. I enjoy it a lot. Phillipe is an inspiration to us all.
      Me minding it being remade is simply because I hate the fact that Hollywood is becoming lazier each year…is it so darn hard to just watch the original with subtitles? or just subdub it!
      Sorry, for whatever reason, I still dislike great movies being remake for the sake of easy watch…BUT I really appreciate you sharing your thought about it 🙂

      1. Hi to you too Novroz,
        thank’s for your answer.
        I certainly agree with you about Hollywood. It’s only about this special story that I don’t mind!
        If you speak french, you can watch theese interviews and documentary too:

        I really wish all people could listen to what Philippe has to say to them. I admire a lot his efforts and as far as I know he’s currently writing a new book about his experiences during the 20 years he’s been tetraplegic.
        I’m glad I had the oppurtunity to write my thoughts!

        1. Unfortunately I don’t understand French 😦
          Hope his book will be translated to English, I am curious with him. I am not sure I can handle being like him.

          1. His first books are already translated in English and I’m sure the next one will be too.
            As he says, everybody can deal with the handicap as long as he is not alone. He felt really handicaped only after he lost his first wife. He is really lucky to have today a new familly to love him and care about him!

          2. Aw…too bad I haven’t seen his first book here 😦
            I guess he’s right…we can deal with everything if we are not alone. Lucky for him, he found his new family 🙂

          3. The title of his firts book is “A Second Wind”.
            If you want, you can preview some pages here:

            Maybe you can order it. It is not funny as the movie was (some chapters are really difficult to read for emotional people…), but very good!

  4. Great reviews Nov!! Glad you enjoyed The Intouchables, such a heart-warming film.

    As for 127 Hours, I don’t think I can handle than hand-cutting scene, I probably will pass out! As you said, the fact that it’s based on a true story made it even scarier to watch.

    1. Thank you Ruth 🙂
      It’s a very inspiring movie.

      Yeah…it was scary even for the likes of me, it’ll be much scarier to those who don’t like violent movies. I never winch on blood scene till I saw 127 hours.

  5. So glad you loved Intouchables, what a treat there. I agree, you don’t need anything but a good story to make a great movie. Ugh, I’m with you on the remake. It’s like they want any movie to be Hollywood-ish.

    Mm, I actually loved 127 Hours, but yeah I guess Franco is not as good as Hanks.

    1. Friendship movie, especially if it was well done, is one of my fav movie themes 🙂

      Yeah…it feels like Hollywood wants the world to know the still make movie with good story even though not original.

      It’s not only Franco, it’s the atmospher of the movie…it didn’t feel luke survival movie. Franco is indeed not Hanks, not Reynolds either becaushe he was brilliant in buried.

  6. Thanks for the review, Novroz. I haven’t Les Intouchables yet but I know I would like it a lot. I like the idea for the movie and it’s great they have a good chemistry.
    I read about what happened in the second when it was in the newpapers at the time. I don’t think it’s for me though.

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