The Kid with a Bike (5 stars)

The Kid with a Bike

Naturalistic storytelling from the Dardenne brothers, starring Cecile de France and Thomas Doret

(12A) 87min

The Dardenne brothers’ latest film is one of their very best – the story of the relationship between a young boy Cyril (Thomas Doret), recently taken into foster care, and local hairdresser Samantha (Cecile de France). The two meet by chance when Samantha generously buys back Cyril's beloved red bike after it’s sold by the father who has just abandoned him. The two get to know one another and Samantha offers to look after the willful Cyril at the weekends.

Following in the footsteps of their Palme D’Or winner L’Enfant (The Child), The Kid with a Bike shows the filmmakers’ deep commitment to realism, shooting in a natural style which, through closely observed details, speak mountains about the lives and situations of the protagonists.

The performances here are key and not for one moment do they falter. Cecile de France, previously seen in Mesrine and Hereafter, is excellent as Samantha, who is trying to balance compassion for the young boy alongside a level of authority that will stop him going astray. While newcomer Thomas Doret as Cyril is filled with a constant restlessness and angry defiance that is immediately understandable and in turn touching.

On the surface The Kid with a Bike seems like an incredibly simple film – something that’s even portrayed by the title – but it’s a testament to the filmmakers that the everyday, shown without hyperbole, can be made into such a captivating story, which never feels stale or predictable. Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne show themselves, yet again, to be filmmakers working with great compassion and sensitivity, and it is hard to think of another film in recent months that is filled with such humanity as The Kid With A Bike.

Selected release from Fri 23 Mar.

The kid with a Bike by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne - Official Trailer

The Kid with a Bike (Le gamin au vélo)

  • 5 stars
  • 2011
  • Italy
  • 1h 27min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
  • Cast: Thomas Doret, Cécile de France, Jérémie Renier
  • UK release: 23 March 2012

Young boy Cyril (Doret) has recently entered foster care. When his beloved red bike is sold by his absent father, local hairdresser Samantha (de France) buys it back for him and the two get to know each other. The Dardenne brothers' latest is one of their best: incredibly simple and yet captivating.

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