The Kid with a Bike

Still of Thomas Doret in The Kid with a BikeStill of Cécile De France and Thomas Doret in The Kid with a BikeStill of Jérémie Renier and Thomas Doret in The Kid with a BikeStill of Cécile De France and Thomas Doret in The Kid with a BikeStill of Thomas Doret in The Kid with a BikeStill of Cécile De France and Thomas Doret in The Kid with a Bike

Plot

Abandoned by his father, a young boy is left in a state-run youth farm. In a random act of kindness, the town hairdresser agrees to foster him on weekends.

Release Year: 2011

Rating: 7.4/10 (3,748 voted)

Director:
Jean-Pierre Dardenne

Stars: Thomas Doret, Cécile De France, Jérémie Renier

Storyline
Abandoned by his father, a young boy is left in a state-run youth farm. In a random act of kindness, the town hairdresser agrees to foster him on weekends.

Writers: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne

Cast:

Thomas Doret

Cyril Catoul


Cécile De France

Samantha


Jérémie Renier

Guy Catoul


Fabrizio Rongione

Le libraire


Egon Di Mateo

Wes


Olivier Gourmet

Le patron du bar


Batiste Sornin

Educateur 1

(as Baptiste Sornin)


Samuel De Rijk

Educateur 2


Carl Jadot

L'instituteur


Claudy Delfosse

L'homme gare de bus


Jean-Michel Balthazar

Le voisin Val Polet


Frédéric Dussenne

Le concierge


Myriem Akeddiou

L'assistante médicale

(as Myriem Akheddiou)


Sandra Raco

L'éducatrice


Hicham Slaoui

Le directeur



Details

Official Website:
Diaphana [France] |
Official site |

Release Date: 18 May 2011

Filming Locations: Liège, Wallonia, Belgium



Technical Specs

Runtime:



User Review

The Dardennes score again!

Rating: 9/10


The Dardenne brothers (L'Enfant, Lorna's Silence) once again
demonstrate their mastery for crafting character studies around broken
souls trying to get by in France, with their newest film, The Kid With
A Bike. The film opens with young Cyril Catoul (Thomas Doret), trying
to break free from an orphanage to see his father, while everyone
around him is trying to explain that his father has left him there.
It's a heartbreaking opening, immediately giving us a taste of the
magnificent performance that Doret will continue to demonstrate over
the course of the film. Cyril is desperate to escape their clutches and
refuses to listen to their pleas for understanding. He's a rebellious
young boy, unyielding in his cause and so sure that there must be some
explanation; surely his father couldn't be that cruel. Of course the
audience knows the revelation he is most likely going to receive.

Soon he comes into the care of Samantha (the always great Cecile De
France), a hairdresser in the town nearby who runs into him by chance,
and this is where the film really starts to succeed. The relationship
at the core of the film isn't with Cyril and his father (whom we do
eventually meet), but instead with him and Samantha. Cyril spends his
time pouting, rebelling and generally being your standard adolescent
boy, while Samantha tries to become this mother never had. Cecile De
France is an actress I'm always interested to watch, with her
expressive face that she's put to great use in many films before this
but never so well as she does here. Samantha's resilience towards
Cyril's constant attempts to pull away make it clear that she must have
come from a situation similar to his, and is fighting so fiercely to
make sure he doesn't face the fate that she knows exists. In a town
filled with troubled youths, Samantha fought her way out the other side
and she wants to bring Cyril there with her. It's a very warming
dynamic and the Dardennes really make you feel all of the highs and
lows of it. This isn't your standard character study; you feel these
characters like very few films can make you do.

One of the most sensational aspects of the picture is the performance
anchoring it all from Thomas Doret. Watching Doret, I couldn't help but
be reminded of the young Jean-Pierre Leaud in The 400 Blows. Cyril is a
rebel in the purest form, broke down by the society he's been born into
and constantly fighting back against the authority figures in his life.
But unlike Leaud's Antoine Doinel, Cyril isn't looking for freedom
here; he's looking for acceptance. Throughout the film Cyril is pulled
in a multitude of directions, but the only one he wants to get pulled
into is the arms of his father; and in the twisted harshness of life,
that's the one direction that just pushes him away. Doret completely
embodies this character, absent of any tick or fallacy that generally
comes with a child actor. It's got to be the finest child performance
put on screen in quite some time. The boy isn't some adorable little
kid; he's a real person and sometimes he drives you insane, but you
always end up rooting for him when it comes down to it. My heart sank
in the moments with his father (played well by Dardennes regular
Jeremie Renier), warmed in the few bright spots in his life and when he
was in danger I almost drew blood from digging my nails into my palm
due to the tension.

Along with the emotional journey that the Cyril/Samantha dynamic takes
you on, the Dardennes also imbue the film with a dark fairy tale
metaphor that I found added a great new layer to Cyril's story. Cyril
spends the film wearing a variety of red tops, clearly representing our
Riding Hood lost in the woods, and at a certain point he encounters our
version of the Big Bad Wolf; a troubled youth who didn't have the
luxury of a Samantha in his life. This Wolf is the counter to
Samantha's mother figure and Cyril is a broken soul caught in a world
where he could walk down the dark path of the drug dealers and thieves
or into the light that Samantha tries to open up to him. It's a
strikingly human story that keeps you on your toes and grasps your
heart. I won't reveal the final path that Cyril ends up taking, but it
kept me in tears for the final ten or fifteen minutes.