Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Scott Foundas Explains Why He's Leaving Film Criticism--Again--for Amazon Studios Scott Foundas Explains Why He's Leaving Film Criticism--Again--for Amazon Studios Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Broad Green Dates 'Knight of Cups' and Two More Releases Broad Green Dates 'Knight of Cups' and Two More Releases Watch: The Secret Ingredient to David Lynch's Disorienting Cinema Watch: The Secret Ingredient to David Lynch's Disorienting Cinema First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal Is 'The Revenant' the Most Hellish Shoot of All Time? Is 'The Revenant' the Most Hellish Shoot of All Time? Broad Green Enters Long-Term Home Video Deal with Universal for Burgeoning Slate Broad Green Enters Long-Term Home Video Deal with Universal for Burgeoning Slate Gabriel García Márquez Documentary Coming Soon (Trailer) Gabriel García Márquez Documentary Coming Soon (Trailer) Watch 'SPECTRE' Trailer: James Bond Meets the Author of His Pain Watch 'SPECTRE' Trailer: James Bond Meets the Author of His Pain 'BoJack Horseman,' 'Rick and Morty,' and Our Love/Hate Relationship with TV 'BoJack Horseman,' 'Rick and Morty,' and Our Love/Hate Relationship with TV Why I Can't Wait to See 'Crimson Peak,' Guillermo del Toro's Sumptuous Period Thriller (VIDEO) Why I Can't Wait to See 'Crimson Peak,' Guillermo del Toro's Sumptuous Period Thriller (VIDEO) First Look at Julianne Moore and Ellen Page as a Gay Couple in 'Freeheld' First Look at Julianne Moore and Ellen Page as a Gay Couple in 'Freeheld' Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991 Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991

Cannes Palme d'Or Contender The Kid with a Bike Reviews: "Unstinting Compassion, Movie Moralists"

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 19, 2011 at 7:27AM

The Dardenne brothers do one thing very well--they're like the Ken Loach of Belgium. The trouble for critics more than audiences is that they do much the same thing each time--only better. This year's entry The Kid with a Bike is being tagged a top five contender for the Palme d'Or.
0
Thompson on Hollywood


The Dardenne brothers do one thing very well--they're like the Ken Loach of Belgium. The trouble for critics more than audiences is that they do much the same thing each time--only better. This year's entry The Kid with a Bike is being tagged a top five contender for the Palme d'Or.

Their films take minimal, intimate, close looks at people with problems. They're exquisitely written, acted, shot and observed. The Kid with the Bike is no exception. I found it very moving--probably because I am a sucker for stories about needy kids with no parents. This relationship between a kid who desperately seeks acceptance from adults who may not give it--and rejects it from the surrogate mom who does, well-played by The Hereafter's Cecile de France--is a good match for Sundance Selects. Reviews are below.

Andrew O'Hehir, Salon:

"An edge-of-your-seat emotional roller-coaster ride about ordinary people in a nondescript neighborhood, it's sometimes terrifying, often heart-rending and completely worth it."

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian:

"The Kid With a Bike restates the Dardennes' style so emphatically it is almost like Monet repainting his lilies. In fact, the movie appears to be a variation on De Sica's Bicycle Thieves, in which a father and son search for a bicycle; here, a son with a bicycle searches for his errant dad…there are flaws, and yet the Dardennes' tough, spare, almost haunted storytelling style was much in evidence."
Thompson on Hollywood

David Rooney, THR:

"Few, if any, contemporary filmmakers can match the Dardennes for unstinting compassion, rigorous avoidance of sentimentality and unimpeachable emotional integrity…the film navigates with extreme grace its transitions from sorrow to tenderness to distressing violence before finally taking a gentle step toward healing. That most overused term in the therapy handbook notwithstanding, there isn’t a single unearned emotion in this tremendously moving drama."

Boyd van Hoeij, indieWIRE:

"Something that, on the surface, looks startlingly new, slowly reveals itself to be something surprisingly familiar and not all that effective…what we have here is basically a typical Dardenne narrative dressed up in a way we hadn’t seen before. The story itself is familiar but credible enough, and even finds that moment of grace that is so typical of all Dardenne films."

Peter Debruge, Variety:

"A stock version of the same story might find de France's and Renier's characters gradually falling in love over the course of the film. In the Dardennes' hands, however, she Samantha represents the sort of exemplary soul we too seldom see in films -- least of all Cannes, where 'Kid' is competing alongside several entries committed to exposing pedophilia and child abuse. Samantha is one of those beatific yet realistically challenged women, like Simone Signoret's 'Madame Rosa,' who embodies the best of us, putting aside her own interests in a sincere effort to give Cyril a chance at a proper childhood…Among movie moralists, the Dardenne brothers certainly rank near the top of any list of directors preoccupied with matters of personal responsibility and conscience. As such, there's something a bit disappointing about how straightforward 'Kid' is…"

Stephanie Zacharek, Movieline:

"The picture is a bit wispy, somewhat wayward in both its emotional and narrative focus. But it does have a few moments of grace, and its young star, a kid named Thomas Doret, has some critics murmuring about the possibility that he could win the Best Actor award here next week…Le Gamin au Vélo is also beautifully shot — the images have a clean, crisp, no-nonsense look that’s almost a metaphorical counterpart to Cyril’s confident physicality as he whizzes from here to there."

This article is related to: Directors, Festivals, Genres, Headliners, Independents, Stuck In Love, Reviews, Cannes, Drama, Foreign, Critics


E-Mail Updates








Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.