If you've never seen a film by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne – easily up there with cinema’s greatest living filmmakers – stop reading and go buy one. In fact, buy this one.
Their wonderful new film is about... oh, you know. Simple title, simple film. But with the Dardennes, it’s never that simple.
This quiet, tender story wrings powerful heartbreak and hope out of everyday life. You know what? It is simple. If you don’t like this, you don’t like movies.
Another gripping discovery by the Belgian bros, 12-year-old Thomas Doret makes an incredible debut as a little boy called Cyril who’s been abandoned at a children’s home by his father (L’Enfant’s Jérémie Renier).
At first refusing to believe he’s been dumped, the realisation finally hits home in a crushing scene of rejection that sends Cyril pedalling off the rails and into trouble with a manipulative local drug dealer.
Pain, desperation, rage, confusion... everything storms deep inside Doret’s performance, all the more affecting for its heartrending stoicism. We never discover why hairdresser Samantha (Cécile De France – last seen in Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter and a surprisingly starry casting) battles so hard to takes the child under her care but her tenderness (“You can hold me, but not too tight”) is hugely touching.
Brighter in every way than the Dardennes’ past work and just as gripping, The Kid With A Bike has something you don’t find at the movies very often: kindness. It understands that the little moments in life are often the big ones.