The Kid With a Bike

Drama |French with English subtitles | 87 minutes


Cyril, a precocious 11-year-old boy, is suddenly abandoned by his father who also absconds with Cyril’s bike. Cyril has no mother so this loss is devastating. He is housed in an orphanage but he escapes, frantically looking for his father. During one episode in a medical clinic, he hangs on to a woman, Samantha, seated next to him, when the attendants force Cyril to leave. Cyril and Samantha bond. In fact, she retrieves Cyril’s bike and arranges to have Cyril live with her on weekends. Although Cyril enjoys being with Samantha,  he’s still obsessed with finding his father. When Cyril and Samantha finally locate the father, Guy Catoul, he wants nothing to do with Cyril. A shattered Cyril then gets involved with Wesker, a teen-age drug dealer, who entices Cyril to be his accomplice in a holdup. Samantha hears about all this and comes to Cyril’s rescue. Cyril begins to realize  his life must go on and that Samantha can be his lifeline. When Cyril asks Samantha why she is doing all this for him, she simply answers, “I don’t know.” Truly one doesn’t need a reason, just goodness, to reach for a child in trouble.  

Thomas Doret (Cyril Catoul) / Cécile de France (Samantha) / Jérémie Renier (Guy Catoul) / Egon Di Mateo (Wesker)
Why Stream This Film?
A classic example of neorealism from the Dardenne brothers. The young boy, Cyril, is an orphan who becomes a truant; the woman who rescues him is not a social worker or a compassionate teacher, but the owner of a hair salon; Cyril’s father is struggling as a cook in a diner. They all fit together and the result is a wondrous film achievement.
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 96%
  • Metacritic Score: 87
  • Cannes Film Festival: Winner, Grand Prix (Best Film)
  • Golden Globe Awards: Winner, Best Foreign Language Film
  • National Board of Review: Listed, Top Five Foreign Language Films of the Year
There is not wasted shot in this stripped down, pared back fable. Yet, it accrues a deep and lasting power. You will not see many better this year. It’s a simple story with a lasting impact.
Tom Charity

A quietly rapturous film. One thing that makes the Dardennes’ work so vibrant, at once new and seemingly timeless, is that they ask the most urgent questions we can ask ourselves–including, what is it to be human–and in non doctrinaire, non proscriptive terms.
Manohla Dargis

The New York Times

The directing of the Dardenne brothers reflects their previous work: it wants to be unnoticed either for virtuosity or clumsiness, yet only virtuosos can attain this ideal.
Stanley Kauffmann

New Republic

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