Director: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Writers: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Stars: Thomas Doret, Cécile De France, Egon Di Mateo, Jérémie Renier
The Kid with a Bike has a raw and honest approach at telling the story of a kid who was abandoned by his father. Much of the dialogue was true to me, because as a young child I had been in similar situations as Cyril, the main character. It's extremely interesting and always leaves you hanging on what the kid might do next. If they had of developed the characters a little better, this would have been a perfect movie.
Cyril (Thomas Doret) is a young, impulsive, and vulnerable young boy whose father left him at a state-run youth farm. The film starts with Cyril trying to call his dad, wondering why he hasn't been taken back yet and why he hasn't brought his bike around. It's the story of a kid who has major issues as a result of being treated horrendously by his irresponsible father. We see him deal with abandonment, bad influences and crime as he finds his way towards finally being happy again.
This movie really took my emotions to a new level. I went from being furious at the father to being terribly sad and sorry for Samantha (Cécile De France), the woman looking after Cyril. The situation seemed so hopeless for her. She tries her hardest to make sure Cyril turned out to be a good person, yet it always looked as though the odds were against them. Her character could have done with better development through telling us WHY exactly she decided to help this poor kid. I truly believe that there are honest and good people out there, but I'd still like to know what drove her personally to take him in.
I think the movie really shined when a group of thugs tried to recruit Cyril into their gang. They treated him as one of them, with kindness and respect. Of course they only meant to manipulate him to do their bidding. To a kid that hardly ever gets treated with love and respect, it's almost like getting a new family. When I was Cyril's age, I used to hang out with a group of thugs for the same reason. I felt like I belonged, like I was one of them. The things these thugs would say to Cyril were almost word-for-word the exact same things my 'friends' would say to me, which is why I think the screenplay is marvelous.
The acting is absolutely terrific on all accounts, especially from Thomas Doret. His performance alone sustained my interest in the movie. I think this movie works incredibly well because of its realism. Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) had similar themes, but was all about the poetry and the magic of a young child. The Kid with a Bike didn't have the poetry or the magic, but had the darkness and the gritty realism of what REALLY happens to a child when they are hurt and in pain. I really connected to Cyril and Samantha, and I watched this movie in awe of how powerful it was. It tackles the effects of bad-parenting head-on and shows us what it can do to a child.
I really love this movie.