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4.1 out of 5 stars
The Kid With A Bike [DVD]
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on 13 February 2014
I have yet to see a French film without superb acting, script and direction.

Centered on the tragic heartbreak of a son unwanted by his father and the inspiring compassion and generosity of a woman asked for her care this film is also about forgiveness. Forgiveness asked, accepted and given by those wronged who sometimes also end up being wrongdoers.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 9 October 2014
I was tempted to try this film after being hugely impressed by the Dardenne brother's last effort, "Two days , one night."
This film is very similar in style and considers the story of an eleven year boy called Cyril who has been abandoned by his father and has spent the last month in a boarding school. The story evolves when he is adopted during the weekends by the hairdresser, Samantha, whose motives are not fully explained. Whilst both of these characters dominate the story, the skill of this piece of film making is that the town on which the story is set ultimately becomes the principle character. The directors skilfully use Cyril's escape from school to play truant as almost a travelogue around the town and the sheer mundaneness of the community is wonderfully depicted.

The situation presented is a very simple premise and I felt that the search for Cyril's waster father proved to be compelling with the child's loyalty heart-breaking in the light of his parent's callow unwillingness to reciprocate. Told in a naturalistic fashion, this eventually leads to Cyril falling under the influence of a teenage gang after one particular encounter leads to a favourable impression being made due to his resilience. The story then takes a different turn as Cyril rejects the influence of the kind-hearted Samantha within drastic consequences.

I don't think that this film is quite as good as the newer film but, yet again, it affords another terrific performance by a leading talent of French cinema, the Belgian actress Cecile de France. This film has a brisker tempo than "Two days, one night" and similarly shares a story where redemption seems to be a significant feature. It is marginally inferior as the ending is quite sudden and a sharp departure from what you might have anticipated. "The boy with a bike" is not a sad film by any means and I found both the story and the performances compelling. If there is a problem it is that the story seemingly ends somewhat arbitrarily and there seemed a lot more about Cyril that could have been told. The ending wasn't quite so succinct yet I was hooked by the storyline and wanted to find out more. It would have been interesting to learn about Samantha's motives to adopting Cyril and why she sacrificed so much. I think the introduction of the gang leader could have been explored more fully too.

These two films seems to demonstrate that the Dardenne bothers are the kind of directors gifted enough not to fall in to the pitfalls of being political, preachy or moralistic in their social realism and more interested in the human aspect of things. Some people might consider this kind of film as navel gazing however I would have to say that this film entirely lacks any pretentions It's craftsmanship and ability to capture human nature so accurately draws you in to the story and typifies for me what proper, creative film making should be about. Certainly anything half as good as this would be well outside the ability of Hollywood scriptwriters working to formula and I think this demonstrates just why European cinema can be so rewarding. Beautifully filmed and with the discrete use of Beethoven to underscore some of the more emotional elements of the film, this is a film that any lovers of "true" cinema will want to see. Recommended.
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on 4 August 2014
A bit of a tear jerker but a good film and perfect for Y7 to Y8s as well as well older pupils. A positive message about the dangers of getting involved in gangs.
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on 6 June 2015
A touching insight into a short time in the life of a troubled child and the range of adults he encounters and who either try to help him or hinder him.
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on 2 January 2014
One of my favourite films of 2012, and one of the best films about kids I have ever seen - very true to life. Beautiful story-telling and acting.
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on 4 January 2014
Thomas Doret and Cecil deFrance bring out the best in this story, something Hollywood can't do with millions of dollars.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 8 November 2012
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 system. Unfortunately it's nowhere as interesting as that sounds, thanks to the lead character, a 10-11 year old boy, being unlikable and the constant source of exasperation. It's the intention of the director yes, but that is offset by the disarming placidity of Cecil de France; it's an awkward counterbalance than can be hard to get on with at the best of times
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on 12 March 2015
Very good satisfied
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on 16 July 2014
perfect
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 October 2014
Very good film. Saw it with our kids of 10 and 12, and I think it made them think a bit....
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