The Upside Vs. The Intouchables

The holiday season (or genre, if you will) has an abundance of feel-good movies. One notable, cozy movie that came out around the holidays a couple of years ago was Intouchables (2011); a French movie about a wealthy gentlemen who has become permanently paralyzed due to an accident, who hires on a caregiver from a much different upbringing. It’s a dramedy that dabbles in themes of race as well as economic and societal differences. A kind of “opposites attract” deal, to be frank. It’s quite a powerful movie with everything going for it. It needs no a prequel, sequel, or spin-off. A fine gift, neatly wrapped and perfectly tied with a bow…

A movie called The Upside (2018) released its trailer recently. It stars American actors. It has the exact themes. It has the same characters. It has the same plot. It’s in English…

Intouchables came out in 2011. Some would say that that’s enough time to warrant  a sequel of sorts, if the movie concludes with that open-ended possibility. It does not. The movie feels as relevant, if not more so, today than when it came out in 2011 and it isn’t out-of-touch or dated. I understand, from a thematic relevance standpoint, why a remake would be made, but…….. still……. why remake it??

I can’t wrap my head around this notion of making an exact remake, without the clear elephant in the room. It’s in English. I imagine a boardroom meeting of people picking out non-English speaking movies that have themes relevant to present-day North American culture for the mere sake of copying and profiting off of them, “You know what? This movie would be better if it was in English! It was already successful overseas, let’s make it over here!” *high fives all around* It’s not just a recycled idea, it’s a recycled movie.

Given the relevance of the movie’s idea, it’s confusing as to why there simply wouldn’t be a rerelease of the original film in theaters across North America. Why alter it, change it, “Americanize” it? The fact that The Upside even exists, predicates an idea that English is a superior language for storytelling through film. Not only is that insulting, it goes against the purpose of the movie’s story itself.

Intouchables is about coming together, despite differences, and how peace and love should be more prevalent in our daily lives. Just by the fact alone that The Upside  has been made, it goes against the whole notion of, “we’re all in this together.” This movie is a money-grab, exploiting an idea that was successfully presented and already beautifully made. To straight-up copy the original, and make an English version, emphasizes a divide among audiences. Among humans. If the idea was that strong, just rerelease it, market it again, and expose audiences to a French film. Maybe you’ll make a more open-minded movie goer, or better yet, individual.

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