The Specials (2019) people: the real story of volunteers who defeated the system: description, plot summary, meaning of the ending, what the film is about, what real events it is based on.
Country: France, Belgium
Year of production: 2019
Director: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano
Actors: Vincent Cassel, Reda Kateb, Hélène Vincent
Slogan: “Based on an inspiring true story”.
The content of the film The Specials (Hors normes) is dedicated to the problems of volunteer organizations that work with sick children. This kind and at the same time sad picture is about those who desperately need help and about those who have devoted their whole lives to hard, exhausting work.
What true story is the film based on?
The idea for the film is based on the story of Stéphane Benhamou. He ran a private Parisian orphanage for children and teenagers. His organization accepted absolutely everyone, including children with very serious diagnoses – those who were refused treatment in “regular” hospitals.
What is the movie about
Brief description of the plot of the film. The main characters of the film, Bruno and Malik, are engaged in helping special people – those who are abandoned by medical institutions.
One day Bruno is informed that someone has “set” a commission from the Ministry of Health on them. This is a serious matter, since they help “problem” children unofficially. However, Bruno is sure that everything is fine, let them come – he and Malik have nothing to hide from the authorities. His serenity and calm angers the lawyer helping him: if the representatives of the commission dig up anything, the organization faces closure. “I ask you one thing,” the lawyer asks, “Stop telling everyone that you will resolve the issue.”
One day Bruno and Malik receive Valentine, a boy with a severe form of autism. The boy constantly hits himself and does not make contact well. His relatives are very afraid of him, and if Bruno cannot help Valentine, a boarding school awaits him. “You have a place for it, don’t you?” – asks a nurse at the clinic where the teenager is staying. “You will solve the problem, won’t you?” – Malik picks up. Bruno answers in the affirmative. He is not at all arrogant: the key to his behavior is that he has too kind a heart.
Bruno and Malik are not alone: volunteers and so-called “difficult” teenage interns help them work. One of them is Dylan. One day he comes to the clinic and, seeing a pretty girl doctor, plays the role of a patient. At this moment Malik appears and puts everything in its place. The girl is not offended and laughs at the situation.
The tougher and more demanding Malik works with difficult teenagers – he himself was like them in the past, and therefore finds a common language with them perfectly. Often he has to criticize them quite harshly and constantly remind them that no one is keeping them here by force. However, most of the guys seem genuinely engaged in the process. The only problem is with Dylan, who doesn’t seem to know what he wants or needs.
Meanwhile, the inspection begins its work. To begin with, employees of the Ministry of Health come to the mother of one of Bruno’s charges, Joseph. They say that mercy is, of course, good, but Helen is sure that none of the licensed clinics helped her child. Only Bruno helped. That’s why she didn’t give a damn about all these licenses.
Soon the commission comes to Malik. He is asked if he thinks Bruno is taking unnecessary risks. He replies that everything is fine with his colleague, but not with the Ministry of Health as a whole. Malik is asked to clarify what he means and he explains: while “official medicine” stuffs autistic people with pills, Bruno’s organization works real miracles. There is a place for “ordinary miracles” in his work even in those cases when he receives almost “vegetables” in his hands – this is exactly what sick teenagers become after “official” treatment.
Meanwhile, Dylan continues to work with Valentine – it seems that the black youth is the only one with whom the sick boy comes into contact at all. Although Dylan himself likes communicating much more with the pretty speech therapist Ludivine. One day Bruno and Malik invite the young man to decide which of them he wants to work with. Dylan is even embarrassed – it seems that no one has really asked his opinion before. He chooses Bruno and becomes Valentine’s handler.
Meanwhile, the commission comes to the hospital, which works closely with Bruno’s organization. The head physician repeats what employees of the Ministry of Health have heard many times already, but they are concerned with the only question: why does Bruno work outside the system and who will guarantee that his organization will not have less conscientious “subsidiaries” in which all sorts of things will happen?.. Answer They don’t wait – everything is already clear to them.
Things are slowly looking up for Dylan and Valentine – the boy trusts him and doesn’t beat himself up in front of him. One evening, thinking that his charge is sleeping, Dylan slowly goes outside to do his business. The boy did not sleep… And he really did not like that he was left alone – so much so that he threw the TV out of the window and ran away. Dylan goes looking for him, but eventually realizes that it is useless – Valentine has disappeared. The guy calls his friends, and they start looking for the boy together. Soon Dylan and Bruno find him – he is walking aloofly along a busy highway. Fortunately, he can be saved.
The Specials Ending explained
Explanation of the ending of the picture. In the finale, the commission comes to Bruno. Employees of the Ministry of Health have serious complaints: in their opinion, poor living conditions for sick children, incompetence of staff and complaints from local residents about noise.
Bruno, in response, calmly invites the Ministry of Health to take into its care all the “difficult” ones, including the most aggressive ones, and sincerely wishes them good luck. Officials do not find what to say in response. However, they suddenly turn out to be human and go to meet him. That is, the meaning of the ending of the film “Special” is that Bruno receives permission to work with “problem” children.
The meaning of the film The Specials
French dramatic cinema differs from American cinema in that the directors do not squeeze tears out of the viewer, but at the same time create an atmosphere in which it is impossible not to cry.
The authors of this film, who once gave us the wonderful film “1+1,” once admitted in an interview that they did not film it without a hidden meaning. They wanted to create a comedy-drama that could “hook” the audience’s nerve that is responsible for empathy. They tried to take us into the world of two volunteer activists who are involved in helping “special” children and do not have official permission to do so. And the directors succeeded. The film is based on real events and that makes it even harder to watch.
Such films are very necessary. Perhaps everyone needs to see this and many similar films – just to remember those who are in dire need of help and support. And for those who decide to provide it, the world, as they say, will no longer be the same. Everything around will change: the meaning of life will become different (or appear), and the person himself will become a better version of himself.
We live in an era of social change in a progressive society. However, besides transgender people, black people, feminists and body positive people, there are other people in the world who are also different from us. They do not walk along the streets with banners and do not try to attract our attention. And we try not to see them and not notice them. And then an important thought appears in the minds of many, the meaning of which sounds like this: is everything right in our world? Is everything right with us? After all, is this what the progressive public is doing?
The problem of society’s attitude towards people with mental disorders is relevant not only for Europe, but for the world in general. However, society, for all its tolerance and humanity, is afraid of the “special” and looks askance at them. It seems to say: “We sympathize with you, but please be sick somewhere far away so that we cannot see you.” However, this is not possible. We cannot be half human and sympathize only with those who do not require our active intervention. This is exactly the essence of the film.
The heroes of the film are not just conscious, socially active citizens, but people. Moreover, with a capital letter. One of them is a Jew, the second is a Muslim. Most of the trainees are from third world countries. They help those who need it, regardless of status, religion and other prejudices.
Some particularly conservative viewers, in their analysis of this film, accuse it of promoting multiculturalism. This is not just a false, but an almost criminal (not to say harsher) interpretation, because the authors emphasize: every life is precious, and the color of the skin, the shape of the eyes and the size of the wallet do not matter at all.
Everything about this film is wonderful, including the fact that it gives us the opportunity to feel the power of the human spirit. This is necessary to believe that there are still those here on this planet who care. After all, the selfless salvation of even one human life gives hope to the whole world. All is not lost yet, which means “we will live.”
Here are several films similar to the film “Special” in meaning and partly in plot:
- The Intouchables (France, 2011). The paralyzed rich man Philip hires a resident of the suburb of Drissa as a nurse. Very soon they become friends.
- “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” (Germany, 1997). Rudy and Martin are seriously ill. One day they decide to escape from the hospital and go to the sea.
- “The Peanut Butter Falcon” (USA, 2019). Zach is 22 years old and has Down syndrome. The guy dreams of becoming a professional wrestler…
- “Belle Epoque” (France, Belgium, 2019). A certain company meticulously restores parts of any era to order. One day, a middle-aged artist becomes her client…