Simple grace is a quality rarer in modern films than one might expect, as is the yard-by-yard, in-the-trenches slog of messy human connection, absent a lot of cathartic speechifying. Both are on rich display in French import The Kid With a Bike, however, the winner of the Grand Jury Prize at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, and a Best Foreign Language Film Golden Globe nominee. With their latest movie, fraternal portraitists Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne deliver a compelling character study of adolescent emotional dislocation, shining a light on the weight of both nature and nurture.
The Kid With a Bike centers, as one might surmise, on a title character, 11-year-old ward of the state Cyril (newcomer Thomas Doret, an acting neophyte), and his relationship with Samantha (Cecile de France), a hairdresser who is granted part-time custody of him via weekend furloughs, and finds herself surprised at how determined she is to help him. Spare but never without thought and care, the Dardennes’ movie unfolds on a precipice of loss and confusion, teetering in the wind. It’s a stirring reminder of the variety of divergent paths that life affords each of us, and how the more nuanced consideration of those choices and decisions can be corrupted by the white-hot heat of overriding emotion. For the full, original review, from ShockYa, click here. For more information on the film, meanwhile, click here. (Sundance Selects, unrated, 87 minutes)