The Kid With A Bike (12A)
Starring: Thomas Doret, Cécile de France
Think of critically acclaimed duo the Dardenne brothers as a Belgian answer to Ken Loach, with perhaps a pinch more humour in their depiction of hardscrabble lives.
This latest, with its typical Ronseal title, is a low-key rites-of-passage drama that doesn't always go the way you expect. Eleven-year-old Cyril (Thomas Doret) is a problem kid in a care home. His anger-management issues (he bites!) are traceable to his being abandoned by his father, though Cyril literally can't believe his old man has scarpered and sold his beloved bike as well. He thinks dad just "forgot" to tell him. A chance encounter in town with a hairdresser, Samantha (Cécile de France), is pivotal: she agrees to foster Cyril at weekends, and helps him track down his errant sire (Jérémie Renier, a Dardennes regular).
The key to the brothers' film-making is restraint: in the encounter between Cyril and his dad, when he finally faces the truth of his parent's neglect, no voices are raised, no music is played. There's no need, because we are listening to the sound of a heart being broken. Scene by scene The Kid with a Bike is absorbing, and De France brings terrific warmth to the foster-volunteer. It's a difficult role, all the same, given no explanation of why she wants to be Cyril's fairy godmother – we have to settle for intrinsic goodness, but some back story could have been supplied. The film also lacks the unsettling moral dilemma that animated their last film about guardianship, The Son (2002), wherein boy and adult were unwitting antagonists brought together by fate. The last 10 minutes, with a seeming twist in the tale, are slyly affecting.
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 This is surely the best way to watch Jaws
- 2 Homeless man playing piano in Florida becomes instant online sensation with public performance
- 3 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 4 San Francisco TV news crew attacked by armed robbers during live broadcast
- 5 Greek debt crisis: The photograph that conveys the despair of Greece's elderly
Bad luck, One Direction: Paul McCartney doubts success of The Beatles will ever be matched again
This is surely the best way to watch Jaws
The Crystal Maze: Richard O’Brien confirmed to return as more details revealed about show's rebooted format
Guillaume Tell's gang-rape scene caused uproar at the Royal Opera House – but the portrayal of extreme sex and violence on stage is nothing new
What if Nicolas Cage played every character in Game of Thrones?
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture