French Fridays: The Intouchables – good movie, bad title

Recently, I saw the French movie, “The Intouchables.” It’s a huge hit in France – nearly one-third of the population has seen it – and it’s already the second highest grossing non-English film in the world, ever, even though it’s playing in fewer than 80 theatres in the US.

There’s been a lot of talk about the movie being too racist for American audiences. It is full of clichés and stereotypes and seemingly unlikely scenarios, but it’s based on a true story. One has to assume that a certain amount of the cliché based on truth, even if it’s uncomfortable.

The film is being released in the States by the Weinstein Company, the same people responsible for The Artist. Despite its Oscar success, The Artist was a box-office bomb. The Weinsteins don’t seem to have any greater hope for their new film since they already have a plan B in the works (remaking it in English).

I think I know why this movie won’t do well in America or in any English-speaking country: the title.

What the heck is an “intouchable.” Look it up in the dictionary. There is no such thing. Obviously, what they mean to say is untouchable, but they don’t say that. They take the film’s original French title Les Intouchables and decide that the part that needs translating is “the.”  Really? Why translate at all if you’re going to create ungrammatical nonsense?

Honestly, I know why they did it. There already is a movie whose English title is The Untouchables, and it’s a very, very different movie. No one wants to confuse these two movies, but I’m pretty sure one lousy letter – an ‘i’ instead of a “u” – isn’t going to clarify things all that much.

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One Response to French Fridays: The Intouchables – good movie, bad title

  1. Carol Egidio says:

    Bombing because of its title would be a great injustice to this very moving story and the superb acting.

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