Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Planet Carol Recommends...The Intouchables

Last week on my day off, I went to a movie instead of doing the laundry. Nothing unusual there. I often find creative ways to avoid housework, and there are always movies showing at The Angelika Film Center that I want to see. They don’t usually show for more than a week or two. Laundry? I can do that anytime…

I love The Angelika, because I enjoy the kind of obscure art house and foreign films that never play at the mall multi-plex. So I eagerly purchased my ticket, stopped at the concession stand for a seriously overpriced box of milk duds and a diet coke (to off-set the 9000 calories in the milk duds) and settled into the dark, mostly empty theater for an afternoon matinee.

It was a French film called The Intouchables, a true story about a wealthy French quadriplegic who hires a young, black Muslim ex-con as his caretaker. He needs someone with physical strength, who can lift him from his bed or into a car, and who can respond to his panicked breathing in the middle of the night when phantom pain strikes. What he doesn’t need, or want, is pity…which is why the wealthy Parisian picks the most unlikely candidate to be his aide…a streetwise native of Senagal, who only expects a quick rejection at the job interview to help him qualify for public benefits. Instead, he gets the job. Their bond proves the power and omniscience that love and friendship can hold over all social and economic differences. Fabulous movie…and the actors, Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy, are fantastic!

I left the theater crying and laughing. Sad for those persons with physical disabilities that take away their mobility, autonomy, and independence, and sad for the suffering that exists in the world caused by loneliness, alienation, and poverty. But the movie is quite funny too, and poignant without being overly sentimental or sappy. I was inspired and uplifted by the strength and perseverance of the human spirit over adversity. And I wanted to fall to my knees, and thank God for my family and friends…my livelihood…and my ability to walk…to run…to dance!

Sometimes I focus so intently on the things I want, that I forget about all of the many things I have to be grateful for. This movie was a wonderful reminder…totally worth coming home to a pile of dirty laundry!


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