Metascore
87

Universal acclaim - based on 33 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 41 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , , ,
  • Summary: When his father abandons him, Cyril obsessively tries to find his bicycle—after all, his father must have cared about him enough not to sell that off, he reasons. Almost by accident, he becomes the ward of a kind hairdresser, a woman who seems surprised to find herself so determined to help him. With his wild, unpredictable behavior and his disastrous search for father figures, Cyril risks losing her—though she refuses to give up without a fight. Full of heartbreaking betrayals and unexpected grace, The Kid With A Bike is a film about a child, abandoned to the elements, learning to become good. [Sundance Selects] Expand
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: Manohla Dargis
    Mar 15, 2012
    100
    A quietly rapturous film about love and redemption.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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."

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 12
  2. Negative: 1 out of 12
  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. Expand
  2. Jan 2, 2013
    10
    'The Kid with a Bike' is the first film from the Dardenne brothers which I have been lucky enough to come across. What I can say about it is that I was amazed by how emotionally impacting the story was, which played out as simple as its straightforward title may suggest. These directors have a way of making the mundane seem grand and the everyday feel cinematic. The film has the sense that it was directed with the greatest of ease, as if these were the actions of real people being filmed as they went about their everyday lives. Realism this deep and authentic is often incredibly hard to capture and these Dardennes, well, they make it seem like second nature to them. Many themes are explored in the film (all wrung out with the greatest of subtlety) such as redemption, cruelty, and kindness, never leaving the feeling that the easy solution was presented to the situation at hand. We are blessed with two wonderful performances that are great in their own respects. The first comes from Thomas Doret who plays Cyril, a young boy whose father has abandoned him, with the kind of gravity that professional adult actors can barely manage to flesh out themselves. The second great performance comes from Cecile de France, playing the caring hairdresser Samantha, who takes over the role as Cyril's legal guardian. I feel that the critic that described her performance as a credible portrait of goodness was spot on. I am not saying that her character is saintly, but she represents the undying qualities of care and forgiveness that seem to exist in everyone. I would recommend this to anyone yearning to experience a genuinely uplifting tale about humanity. You will leave rocked to your core. Expand
  3. Apr 2, 2012
    8
    A Febiofest screening of Dardenne Brothersâ
  4. Apr 15, 2012
    8
    A wonderfully acted film which really evokes pathos for it's abondoned child. However the most intriguing character might bee the hairdresser. The end of the film will also conjure up mixed feelings for me it felt kind of like an anticlimax. This does not take any of the power of the film away however. Expand
  5. Sep 1, 2013
    7
    I found this a bit of a contradictory film; on one had there are some really great performances, on the other; I found it hard to see the motivation behind some of the actions taking place on the screen. Maybe I’m not as good at reading characters as I thought; but then again, it’s a very long time since I was a twelve(ish) year old boy. As to the performances, well, I thought both Thomas Doret and Cécile De France were truly excellent. I can’t say we really got to see the gritty realism of the streets of Belgium because it wasn’t all that gritty, or maybe that’s as gritty as Belgium gets. It was, however, well made but didn’t do anything particularly extraordinary. Worth a look? Definitely, but I don’t think I’ll be giving it a repeat viewing anytime soon.

    SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

    My score: 7.1/10.
    Expand
  6. Apr 23, 2012
    3
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. We never find out what happened to Cyril's mother but we do know his father doesn't want him and also sold his bike which Cyril gets back along with the foster mother he finds in a doctor's office. It only takes the first 20 minutes of this 88 minute film to find that out along with the fact that he lives in a foster home. Along with watching Cyril ride his bike at all kinds of speeds in all kinds of directions plus very intrusive bars of Beethoven we watch him become involved with all sorts of situations that in an American film would have sent "The Kid With A Bike" in a completely different direction than this French film goes.

    When Samantha, played by Cecile de France, the woman who becomes Cyril's (Thomas Doret) weekend foster mom, is asked by her boyfriend to choose between him and Cyril she chooses the latter. Cyril is befriended by Wes (Egon de Mateo) a drug dealer and thief who comes from the same foster home who seems to be leading Cyril in an additional direction besides becoming a robber.

    Will Samantha make everything right? Will she love, hold on to, Cyril enough to turn him away from he life Wes seems to be taking him? Will Cyril get his father back? Will get on his bike and go in the right direction? That last question isn't as crazy as it sounds because a lot is not explained in this film including who Cyril is and what he wants or needs except his father and bike.

    Cecile de France gives a warm performance who slowly brings the boy into a circle of love while Thomas Doret goes through the film mainly looking angry. Jeremie Renier has the small but tough role of a man who feels he has no choice but to give his son up. Egon de Mateo is scary as the drug dealer who leads Cyril astray and into a tough spot.

    The co-directors, and co-writers, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne didn't seem, to me, to know what to do except give Doret more reasons not to be loved and, yet, let him be loved more and more while whenever they didn't know what to do they put him on a bike and had him ride around. I just finished reading the New York Times review which brings a whole religious aspect to it. I very seldom ever read reviews before I see a film and after reading these reviews I wonder if I saw the same film, did all the themes go over my head or did I just not get it?
    Expand

See all 12 User Reviews

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