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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Belgian Indie Drama with heart
Released in Belgium as `Le gamin au velo' in 2011 this is the story of Cyril played by Thomas Doret. He is an 11 year old child whose father has sent him to a children's home for a while until he gets sorted. Meanwhile his father has stopped using his phones so his son cant even contact him and Cyril gets completely over wrought and escapes in order to track down his...
Published on 14 May 2013 by Tommy Dooley

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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars elegant and simple, just not for me
As an introduction to the Belgium film makers, the Dardenne brothers, the Kid with a bike couldn't give more. It establishes an interesting directorial flair and oeuvre towards the reality of day-to-day life, the unglamorous reality and the drama therein. As a singular article, the Dardenne's latest is both a sweet and unsympathetic character study of a kid in the care...
Published on 8 Nov. 2012 by Rob Simpson


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Belgian Indie Drama with heart, 14 May 2013
By 
Tommy Dooley (London, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Kid With A Bike [DVD] (DVD)
Released in Belgium as `Le gamin au velo' in 2011 this is the story of Cyril played by Thomas Doret. He is an 11 year old child whose father has sent him to a children's home for a while until he gets sorted. Meanwhile his father has stopped using his phones so his son cant even contact him and Cyril gets completely over wrought and escapes in order to track down his papa.

He also wants his beloved bike back, but soon finds out that papa has done a moonlight flit. Then by accident he runs into Samantha, a local hairdresser with a heart of gold. She starts to help him and soon a relationship forms, but hanging around his fathers old haunts puts him at the mercy of some of the local ne'er do wells and things are going to happen.

This is one of those small independent films that some avoid like a rabid pooch and others embrace like a fluffy kitten. I am in the middle and actually really appreciated this effort; the fabulously named Cecile de France is superb as the caring Samantha. I really could not have done what she did for this quite unruly child. Thomas Doret is also brilliant as the irascible little tyke. Some will have issues with the ending which can be seen as `too easy' but it also avoids the rather unwelcoming pit that is over sentimentality. This then is for fans of World and especially Gallic cinema who like to think about their films and not just let them wash over you, so if that floats your `bateau' then this should be right up your `rue'. Apologies for my appalling French.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Skillfully wrought compassionate fable, 30 Dec. 2012
By 
technoguy "jack" (Rugby) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Kid With A Bike [DVD] (DVD)
The Dardennes brothers have evolved their own inimitable style,using non-acting locals in stories set in depressed, working-class,areas of Liege.Preferring to keep the freedom to make their harsh stories about working-class lives, keeping their endeavours low-cost.They made a series of films with basic titles like The Promise, The Son and The Child.Themes are of children,parents,trust,love,failures of relationship between fathers and children.The Dardennes have a special gift in putting themselves in the child's orbit,getting into the slipstream of the child's energy(cf.Rosetta) or forward momentum as they do in The Kid with a Bike.They bring a documentary realism to their approach to film-making. Newcomer Thomas Doret gives a very good performance as Cyril, an 11-year-old in care who is obsessed with the idea that his errant dad Guy (Jérémie Renier) is keeping his bike for him, and still wants to be with him.The cruelty of this illusion and his attempts to find both his bike and his father (we get the image of the closed door,his attempts to break down the barriers between himself and his dad)makes him run in circles, lost, abandonned and unwanted.He forgives and excuses his father's actions,hoping his father will came back to him.

Cecille de France(Samantha),a hairdresser, through a chance meeting with Cyril,like a fairy god-mother,adopts him. Her altruism knows no bounds,she gives up her boyfriend,pays his criminal fines,puts up with his feral anger(`the pitbull'),fights off false father figures,lets him live with her.We know nothing about her background and motivation.Cyril doesn't recognise Samantha's love but he needs it.Realities get glossed over like the problem of criminal assault,would the authorities condone such an easy adoption,the socio-economic background surrounding these people.Cecille de France is both solid and feminine without being maternal,sentimentality is avoided. Cyril is in constant motion,his bike the only thing that gives him a sense of freedom. This is beautifully economic story-tellling with a pared visual style and fluid camera work.One of their most optimistic movies with summery light-filled images,the slowed-down chords from Beethoven's Emperor Concerto at moments of greatest emotional intensity, Doret conveying behind the high pitched voice and angelic face the desperation of the rejected child trying to regain what he has lost.It was quite good but it lacks the wider social resonance of some of their earlier films and seemed preoccupied with plot. The main problem was I just didn't buy into the main relationship. I did like the filming and the depiction of the father and son who are mugged by the young boy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Intimate (And Powerful) Dardennes Drama, 10 Jun. 2013
By 
Keith M - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Kid With A Bike [DVD] (DVD)
This 2011 drama by the Belgian (joint producing and directing) Dardennes brothers is another in their by now familiar vein of urban, (largely) domestic, low-key dramas, each typically addressing one or more modern (Western) social issue(s). What is (for me) most amazing about their films (and this equally applies to The Kid With A Bike) is that, given that this milieu is so well trodden, they manage to continue to produce such interesting and engaging tales of everyday life.

Here, 12-year old boy Cyril (Thomas Doret) has been abandoned by lone father Guy (played with typical assurance by Dardennes-regular Jeremie Renier) and taken under the wing of kind-hearted hairdresser, Samantha (Cécil De France), who takes Cyril into her home for weekends to relieve him of the relative isolation of his 'youth camp' home, which he inhabits for the rest of the week. What follows is a small-scale, intimate story of Cyril's obsession to be reunited with his father, before he succumbs to the influence (and relative security) of local gang leader Wes (Egon Di Mateo). These masterful Belgian film-makers have an amazing ability to tell their stories from the viewpoint of ordinary, disadvantaged members of society and here it's as if we are inhabiting the mind of Cyril (an amazingly vibrant and spontaneous performance from Doret), thereby experiencing first-hand his frustrations of family breakdown, foster parenting and gang culture (the wider social issues the film is addressing). This story happens to be taking place on a Belgian housing estate, but could be set in any modern urban environment. The film's relatively fast pace is also maintained by the film-makers trademark hand-held camera, which frequently follows Cyril racing around the streets on his treasured bike of the title.

The film-makers' exquisite (and very sporadic) use of Beethoven's 5th Piano Concerto is also a notable feature of the film, being used to heighten the emotional power at key points in the narrative.

The acting is naturalistic and impressive throughout, but while both Renier as the father and Di Mateo as Wes are both good, it is the central pairing of Doret and the empathetic turn from De France, that steal the film (and acting honours). Of course, whilst the Dardennes have often been likened to (and indeed acknowledged the influence of) Ken Loach, whose films Kes and Sweet Sixteen immediately spring to my mind here, TKWAB also calls to my mind (at various points) films such as Truffaut's 400 Blows, Leigh's Meantime and Meadows' This Is England. Whilst I would not quite put this Dardennes brothers work on a par with such outstanding films, it is certainly another worthy entry in their impressive body of work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Child Redeemed, 18 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: The Kid With A Bike [DVD] (DVD)
A moving portrait of a very unhappy child brilliantly and energetically played by the unknown actor, Thomas Doret.
Cecile de France is a most sympathetic actor and a pleasure to watch. Indeed there is no tendency to portray any of the care workers as unpleasant, in spite of the very difficult and provocative behaviour of Cyril. His father was also not totally unpleasant although his attitude to Cyril was hard to accept. One could understand his unfortunate circumstances.
A feel-good film which made it charming and 'sympathique'. Well worth watching. Another success for Dardenne
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ASTOUNDING, 20 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: The Kid With A Bike [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
A simple story, a simple idea, a simple film by all means, but one of the best french features I have seen lately and have even invested the money to own the blu-ray (reserved only for special titles :P)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 21 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: The Kid With A Bike [DVD] (DVD)
Great story, good acting and very engaging. I was sad when it ended. And I was able to practice my French comprehension.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece, 17 Dec. 2012
By 
Mr. David C. C. Beattie (London, United kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Kid With A Bike [DVD] (DVD)
Brilliant show-don't-tell example of film making of the highest order. Its simplicity is its brilliance. It's all there; you only need to look, think. Films like this only come along every ten years or so.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, Gripping and Touching Drama, 20 Oct. 2012
By 
Mr. K. Tailor "kunaal_tailor" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Kid With A Bike [DVD] (DVD)
The movie really grips you from start to finish. The little boy is growing up in an orphanage and has nobody. His dad cannot afford to look after him anymore and doesn't want to see him. The boy seems like a troublemaker, and you think he is so naughty, but then you realise how far it is from the truth and that he just wants to be loved. He be friends a local woman who takes him in for the weekend and at first he gives her a lot of trouble and then the story envelopes from there on.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth watching, 10 July 2012
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This review is from: The Kid With A Bike [DVD] (DVD)
This is a well acted movie neatly explaining the boy's reaction to abandonment by his father and his consequent search for love and acceptance whilst always expecting to be rejected by other adults. His rage and misbehaviour is shown clearly together with his ability to undermine his carer's relationship. Sure the scene when the boyfriend says it's him or me seems staged, but it's a real dilemma played out in countless fostering and adoption situations.
This movie should be essential viewing not only for people thinking of entering the caring profession but also those who condemn children's misbehaviour as evil or vindictive.
There are no glib or easy solutions here, just the truth about our need to commit wholeheartedly to ALL our children
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good viewing, 23 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: The Kid With A Bike [DVD] (DVD)
Enjoyed this film - it has english subtitiles if you struggle with the french. Sad story with a good ending.
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The Kid With A Bike [Blu-ray]
The Kid With A Bike [Blu-ray] by Luc Dardenne (Blu-ray - 2012)
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