The Kid With A Bike (2011) – Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne

Why are we so careless with children? And how amazing is their resilience? The Kid With a Bike tells the sad tale of Cyril (Thomas Doret) a boy orphaned by his father for no better reason than that he doesn’t want him. He’s forced to fend for himself, bouncing from thoughtless homes to incapable foster parents to bad influences. This is of course David Copperfield except I don’t think it’s that much of a spoiler to admit that there is hardly a happy ending for Cyril. Why is this story so durable and so familiar and so accepted? A dozen movies a year come out about preteens or younger being mistreated by the people they should trust the most. But kids bounce back, they survive, they make emotional attachments elsewhere, they are denied the essential elements to grow and yet, they do because they must. Often these deficiencies irrevocably stunt them or damage them as adults, it’s terrible. As for the movie, it’s not particularly stirring, it tells its story earnestly and competently enough to create a simple power and Doret has real charisma but it exceeded most in making me think. Not necessarily about the characters in the movie, which is a problem, but about it’s subject.

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