The Kid with a Bike (2011)

kid with a bike poster 2011 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Good cast, good looking

Some might like a more story driven film

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Kid with a Bike

Studio:  Les Films du Fleuve

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s):  May 15, 2011 (Cannes)/May 18, 2011 (Belgium)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

kid with a bike cyril samantha cecile de france thomas doret

So…You’re kind of a jerk to me but I’ll still take you, kid

Cyril (Thomas Doret) finds himself suddenly left at a children’s home by his father (Jérémie Renier) after a promise that he will return for him in a month. When a hairdresser named Samantha (Cécile de France) encounters Cyril, she helps him get his bike back and forms an unlikely friendship. Cyril cannot seem to stay out of trouble, and when he encounters a dealer calling himself Wesker (Egon Di Mateo), Cyril could shatter the trust of Samantha and end up in a dangerous position.

Written and directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne, The Kid with a Bike (Le gamin au vélo) is a Belgium-French film. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and won the Grand Prix (with Once Upon a Time in Anatolia). The Criterion Collection released a version of the film (Criterion #646).

The Kid with a Bike was a “found it” type movie that I picked up with no research and simply watched because it was a Criterion film. The movie turned into a touching film with people that are “too good” to be real (and that’s ok).

kid with a bike dealer wesker egon di mateo thomas doret

No…I’m not a scuzzy con man at all…you have me all wrong

The movie goes for realism, and despite a woman who can’t possibly be that nice or going out of her way to help Cecil, it does work. In the context of the film, the relationship feels oddly believable and even moments where she chooses Cecil over her boyfriend is told with a rawness that comes from a real-world perspective. It is that honesty that makes Cecil’s bad decisions even more painful because Samantha is being so unrealistically nice to a boy she literally met accidentally that it is almost like spitting in her face (or in one case even physically assaulting her).

Cécile de France is great as the adult who goes out of her way to help someone, but Thomas Doret is also quite good for a child actor in the title role. The scenes between the two characters are strong, but Doret also takes on some great solo scenes with the creepy dealer Egon Di Mateo and Jérémie Renier (both of which are also good). This shows he has more range than just a good working relationship with de France and that he has an ability above his age.

kid with a bike cyril samantha cecile de france thomas doret

No way anyone is this nice, lady

The movie also looks very normal. It is a naturalistic approach and doesn’t rely on lush scenery and locations. The Dardennes present a real city with real working people. It isn’t meant to glorify their lives or take away from it.

The Kid with a Bike is a nice movie that feels a lot like the classic François Truffaut coming-of-age film The 400 Blows. Both movies feature broken kids that have potential and are on the cusp of either destroying their lives or choosing the right path. I would like to see a follow-up to the characters and see how they ended up. I hope that they are successful and that the bond they built held…but as the movie reminds the viewer regularly, people make mistakes.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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