Perhaps in anticipation of the hard-hearted and the disbelievers, The Intouchables opens with the line "based on true events" scrawled across the screen.
And, in fact, there is a superrich quadriplegic living in Paris, and there is an ex-con from the banlieue - the high-rise projects that ring the city - who went to work feeding and dressing the millionaire with the broken back. Divided by class, culture, and ethnicity, the two men, improbably but inspirationally, became fast friends.
And in The Intouchables, the fast friends drive around in a fast car, eluding cops and just missing pedestrians, like partners in a Seine-side Lethal Weapon.
Directed and written by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, The Intouchables stars François Cluzet (the pediatrician caught up in Hitchcockian hugger-mugger in the thriller Tell No One). He's Philippe, a wealthy Parisian, paralyzed from the neck down in a paragliding accident. It also stars Omar Sy, a gangly, charismatic French African comedian, popular for his sketch-comedy TV series and now even more so for this feel-good smasheroo. He's Driss, a petty criminal who moved to France from Senegal, and who talks his way into a position in Philippe's manse, not knowing what he's getting into.