Metascore
87

Universal acclaim - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Apr 5, 2012
    100
    Leery filmgoers can exhale: The Kid With a Bike may hew faithfully to the Dardennes' house style of spare, lucid storytelling. But without giving anything away, let's just say that with this simple, deeply affecting tale, they never set out to break your heart.
  2. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Mar 29, 2012
    100
    The Dardennes achieve lyricism without seeming to try.
  3. Reviewed by: Ben Sachs
    Mar 22, 2012
    100
    Makes a powerful statement about the plight of unwanted children. But it also incorporates elements of melodrama, film noir, and even the fairy tale that engage our empathy and confirm the Dardennes' great compassion.
  4. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Mar 18, 2012
    100
    No one charts the wilds of childhood more precisely than the Dardennes.
  5. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Mar 15, 2012
    100
    A quietly rapturous film about love and redemption.
  6. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Mar 15, 2012
    100
    Working on a scale that's minuscule by studio standards, the Dardenne brothers have made yet another movie that does what Hollywood used to do - keep us rapt, and leave us grateful.
  7. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Mar 13, 2012
    100
    Those Dardenne brothers…still making great movies with second-nature ease.
  8. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Mar 12, 2012
    100
    The real reason to see The Kid with a Bike is that it offers something changelessly rare and difficult: a credible portrait of goodness. [19 March 2012, p.90]
  9. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Mar 14, 2012
    91
    The second half of The Kid With A Bike diverges so much from the first that they seem like two different movies - the first a drama about an orphan's search for home, the second a moral thriller about the terrible things all people, no matter their social station, are willing to do in the interest of self-preservation. Both sections are riveting in their own way, and punctuated by startling shocks and bursts of emotion.
  10. Reviewed by: Karina Longworth
    Mar 13, 2012
    90
    The Kid With a Bike seems to unfold in a different world than that of previous Dardenne joints, one with a wider range of spiritual and practical possibilities.
  11. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Mar 12, 2012
    90
    Kindness is evident in even the most hurt or exasperated moments of de France's lovely performance as Samantha. But then, kindness couched in unblinking social realism is an intrinsic part of how these supremely gifted filmmakers view the world.
  12. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Apr 11, 2012
    89
    How the Dardennes, time and again, turn gritty, mundane subjects into transcendent moments of honesty and truth is one of the great cinematic wonders.
  13. Reviewed by: Calvin Wilson
    Apr 13, 2012
    88
    This is a film that's not always easy to watch, but just about impossible to forget.
  14. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Mar 22, 2012
    88
    This is the first film the Dardennes shot in the summertime. Excellent choice of seasons. I'm not sure I could've handled Cyril's travails without it, or without de France's smile.
  15. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Mar 21, 2012
    88
    The most mysterious character in The Kid With a Bike is not the kid, who after all, has a story it's fairly easy to understand. It is the hairdresser, played by Cecille De France with her sad beauty. This actress carries lifetimes in her eyes.
  16. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Mar 16, 2012
    88
    As usual for the Dardennes, the plot is slight but loaded with hairpin turns of tremendous emotional power.
  17. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Mar 5, 2012
    88
    It's the powerful emotional punch their films deliver - and this one is no exception - that elevate the game, that make them so satisfying, so worthwhile. The Kid With a Bike grabs at the heart.
  18. Reviewed by: Fernando F. Croce
    Mar 5, 2012
    88
    If The Kid with a Bike is a fairy tale, it's the unsentimental kind that locates the dark enchantment in characters discovering themselves during their most despairing moments. Still, it's certainly the Dardennes' fleetest, warmest film to date.
  19. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Mar 23, 2012
    83
    It's minor, but powerfully so.
  20. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Mar 22, 2012
    80
    The film is unafraid of emotion, unafraid of plunging into basic human ideas: the need for trust, and the search for love.
  21. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    Mar 19, 2012
    80
    The Kid With a Bike feels as vulnerable as Cyril's unformed character. Within its tight 87 minutes, not a lot happens, unless you count the saving of a life.
  22. Reviewed by: Ian Freer
    Mar 19, 2012
    80
    In outline it sounds trite - a disenfranchised kid is turned around by a kindly stranger - but the Dardennes' make it so much more. Raw but compassionate, naturalistic but compelling. If you're looking to get into the Dardennes, this is a great place to start.
  23. Reviewed by: Jamie Graham
    Mar 16, 2012
    80
    Good enough to survive evoking "Bicycle Thieves" and "The 400 Blows," this small story contains universal truths, told with irresistible force.
  24. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Mar 16, 2012
    80
    The ambiguity is refreshing. And despite the complicated emotional story at the center of this film, the Dardennes, who wrote and directed, have opted to handle it all with a minimalist narrative style.
  25. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Mar 15, 2012
    80
    It's miles away from big-budget, pop-culture entertainment, but you may be surprised by its impact.
  26. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Mar 14, 2012
    80
    The real strength of The Kid with a Bike is the cautious but generous warmth of its storytelling. Not much happens in The Kid with a Bike, but it leaves you grateful that the worst doesn't happen - with these characters, you might not be able to bear it.
  27. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Mar 12, 2012
    80
    The breakout here is 13-year-old Doret, the Dardennes' latest stunningly naturalistic, non-professional acting discovery.
  28. Mar 5, 2012
    80
    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.
  29. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Mar 29, 2012
    75
    It's a melodrama, but played with rigorous and surehanded spareness, and it never panders, even as it gets a mite hysterical near the end.
  30. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Mar 22, 2012
    75
    What it means in practice is that, with a Dardennes movie, nothing much seems to be going on - until everything seems to be going on. We watch events at a remove, and then, at a certain magical point, we are in the story, and we don't quite know how they did it - again.
  31. 70
    Despite the simplicity of the brothers' technique, The Kid With a Bike has deep religious underpinnings, a relentless drive toward the mythos of death and resurrection. The film is not just in the tradition of Pinocchio and A.I.: It is a worthy successor.
  32. Reviewed by: Richard Mowe
    Mar 12, 2012
    60
    It is the boy's tough exterior and lack of self-pity that binds the narrative together, making this one of the Dardennes' most appealing undertakings.
  33. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Mar 16, 2012
    50
    In The Kid With a Bike, Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne offer a sly but finally banal update of the Italian neorealist classic "The Bicycle Thief."
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 42 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 13
  2. Negative: 1 out of 13
  1. Mar 25, 2012
    10
    Sometimes a movie comes around that has so much emotional power that you're taken aback by just how touching it is. I had high expectations going into the film, because I've heard about how good the Dardenne brothers are with their films, but I must say that this movie will exceed your expectations. The story is simple itself, following the life of a young boy searching for trust and love after his loser father abandoned him. The Dardenne brothers can seemingly convey heartbreaking emotions instantly at certain points in the film, which are magnified by the use of the 2nd movement of Beethoven's 5th. At first glance, the boy is so recalcitrant that you want to strangle him, but then you realize that he is only acting out because he needs to feel loved by someone. This kid has a terrific acting career ahead of him. And then there is the magnificent Cecile de France, whose acting has never been better. Her character Samantha may be the most selfless, compassionate, honest, and loving I have ever seen. She practically radiates these qualities. If there were more people like Samantha in the world, the world would be a better place. Not one thing is this film is forced; everything is genuine and heartfelt. Highly recommended. Go see it before it disappears out of your nearest movie theater. Full Review »
  2. Jun 4, 2012
    8
    A touching story that manages to capture the purity of love in more ways than one in just 87 mins: Firstly through the love and almost adoration of a child for his father even when his father's love towards him is not reciprocated. And then the random but true and deep love of a woman stranger to this boy which he is not in a position to appreciate as he keeps on seeking for his father's love... Subtle and poetic. Full Review »
  3. Mar 31, 2012
    10
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