The film begins at night in Paris. Driss (Sy) is driving Philippe's (Cluzet) Maserati Quattroporte at high speed. They are soon chased by the police: when they are caught, Driss, unfazed, doubles his bet with Philippe, convinced they can get an escort. In order to get away with his speeding, Driss claims the quadriplegic Philippe must be urgently driven to the emergency room; Philippe pretends to have a stroke and the fooled police officers eventually escort them to the hospital. As the police leave them at the hospital, Philippe asks what will they do now, to which Driss answers: "Now let me take care of it." as they drive off.
The story of the two men is then told as a flashback, which takes up almost the rest of the film.
Philippe, a rich quadriplegic who owns a luxurious Parisian mansion, and his assistant Magalie, are interviewing candidates to be his live-in carer. Driss, a candidate, has no ambitions to get hired. He is just there to get a signature showing he was interviewed and rejected in order to continue to receive his welfare benefits. He is extremely casual and shamelessly flirts with Magalie. He is told to come back the next morning to get his signed letter. Driss goes back to the tiny flat that he shares with his extended family in a bleak Parisian suburb. His aunt, exasperated from not hearing from him for six months, orders him to leave the flat.
The next day, Driss returns to Philippe's mansion and learns to his surprise that he is on a trial period for the live-in carer job. He learns the extent of Philippe's disability and then accompanies Philippe in every moment of his life, discovering with astonishment a completely different lifestyle. A friend of Philippe's reveals Driss's criminal record which includes six months in jail for robbery. Philippe states he does not care about Driss's past because he is the only one that does not treat him with pity or compassion, but as an equal. He says he will not fire him as long as he does his current job properly.
Over time, Driss and Philippe become closer. Driss dutifully takes care of his boss, who frequently suffers from phantom pain. Philippe discloses to Driss that he became disabled following a paragliding accident and that his wife died without bearing children. Gradually, Philippe is led by Driss to put some order in his private life, including being more strict with his adopted daughter Elisa, who behaves like a spoiled child with the staff. Driss discovers modern art, both traditional and modern, and opera, and even takes up painting.
For Philippe's birthday, a private concert of classical music is performed in his living room. At first very reluctant, Driss is led by Philippe to listen more carefully to the music and opens up to Philippe's music. Driss then plays the music he likes to Philippe (Boogie Wonderland, by Earth, Wind & Fire), which opens up everybody in the room to dance.
Driss discovers that Philippe has a purely epistolary relationship with a woman called Eleonore, who lives in Dunkirk. Driss encourages him to meet her but Philippe fears her reaction when she discovers his disability. Driss eventually convinces Philippe to talk to Eleonore on the phone. Philippe agrees with Driss to send a photo of him in a wheelchair to her, but he hesitates and asks his aide, Yvonne, to send a picture of him as he was before his accident. A date between Eleonore and Philippe is agreed. At the last minute Philippe is too scared to meet Eleonore and leaves with Yvonne before Eleonore arrives. Philippe then calls Driss and invites him to travel with him in his private jet for a paragliding weekend. Philippe gives Driss an envelope containing 11,000 euros, the amount he was able to get for Driss's painting, which he sold to one of his friends by saying it was from an up-and-coming artist.
Adama, Driss's younger cousin, who is in trouble with a gang, takes refuge in Philippe's mansion. Driss opens up to Philippe about his family and his past as an orphan in Senegal, who was adopted by his then-childless aunt and uncle and brought back to France. His adoptive parents later began having children of their own, his uncle died and his aunt bore still more children. Philippe recognizes Driss's need to support his family and releases him from his job, suggesting he "may not want to push a wheelchair all his life".
Driss returns to his suburbs, joining his friends, and manages to help his younger cousin. Due to his new professional experience, he lands a job in a transport company. In the meantime Philippe has hired carers to replace Driss, but he isn't happy with any of them. His morale is very low and he stops taking care of himself.
Yvonne becomes worried and contacts Driss, who arrives and decides to drive Philippe in the Maserati, which brings the story back to the first scene of the film, the police chase. After they have eluded the police, Driss takes Philippe straight to the seaside. Upon shaving and dressing elegantly, Philippe and Driss arrive at a Cabourg restaurant with a great ocean view. Driss suddenly leaves the table and says good luck to Philippe for his lunch date. Philippe does not understand, but a few seconds later, Eleonore arrives. Emotionally touched, Philippe looks through the window and sees Driss outside, smiling at him. The film ends with Driss bidding Philippe farewell and walking away.