The Kid with a Bike

March 29, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Posted in 2012 | Leave a comment
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◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ½

DVD.  After seeing this brilliant little film, I have to declare 2012 the year of the French film as my two favorite films last year (“Amour” and this one) were both based there.  Both films show the telltale lack of “Hollywoodness” that I love in European films: a smallness of scope and authenticity of acting and the potential for any type of ending.  When this movie starts, 11 year old Cyril has been placed at a group home by his father (his mother is gone for reasons we don’t know) and now his dad has moved and left no information.  A kind woman from his old neighborhood agrees to take him for the weekends.  What unfolds is a beautiful and utterly believable story.  Cyril is a scared, lonely and very angry child and he is played with virtual perfection by Thomas Doret in his first film.  Every look, every guarded statement, every violent outburst feels completely real to me; I cannot remember a more believable portrayal of an emotionally damaged kid.  The film rests on him and his relationship with Samantha, who is played by Cécile de France (“Mesrine: Killer Instinct,” “Hereafter,” and countless others).  Her calm compassion helps to ground Doret’s performance and give the audience a connection to the world of the story.   The well-established French director/producer team of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne pace the film perfectly and have a knack for creating believable situations and genuine dialogue.  In the sign of great film making, simple moments can be unbelievably heartbreaking.  This film has no easy answers or pat resolutions but it also is not morose.  It ends on a (probably) upbeat note; things won’t be easy but will likely turn out okay.  I like that.  I feels like life.

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