The Kid with a Bike (2012)



Critic Consensus: Thanks to the Dardenne brothers' typically fine direction, The Kid with a Bike is a heart-wrenching, thematically and spiritually rich drama.

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Movie Info

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival and a Golden Globe nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, the deeply moving new film by the Dardenne brothers delves into the emotional life of troubled 11-year-old Cyril (Thomas Doret). When his father (Jérémie Renier) abandons him, Cyril obsessively searches for his bicycle - placing his last bit of hope in this symbol of their relationship. Almost by accident, he becomes the ward of a kind hairdresser (Cécile de France), 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. -- (C) IFC
PG-13 (for thematic elements, violence, brief language and smoking)
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Jérémie Renier
as Guy Catoul
Olivier Gourmet
as Bistro Customer
Fabrizio Rongione
as Bookseller

Critic Reviews for The Kid with a Bike

All Critics (119) | Top Critics (36)

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

Full Review… | June 18, 2013
The New Republic
Top Critic

It's nonetheless immensely satisfying - not least in its commitment to a child protagonist whose near-feral intensity and unthinking ingratitude make him the polar opposite of cute.

Full Review… | January 8, 2013
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

There is not a wasted shot in this stripped down, pared back fable. Yet, it accrues a deep and lasting power. You won't see many better this year.

Full Review… | January 7, 2013
Top Critic

The film should be required viewing for everyone who has lost faith in the power of random acts of kindness.

Full Review… | April 13, 2012
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

This is a film that's not always easy to watch, but just about impossible to forget.

Full Review… | April 12, 2012
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

"The Kid With a Bike" vibrates with desperation, frustration and the simple unfairness of life, leavened with glimpses of hope.

Full Review… | March 29, 2012
Detroit News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Kid with a Bike


Although interesting at first, this drama proves to be a frustrating effort that doesn't seem to have much to say, while the characters are not well constructed or developed, the conflicts seem artificial and, more than anything else, the young protagonist is way too unlikable.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Coming of age tales heavily rely on the emotional connection that audiences share with the protagonist. If we can't identify with the star, then the story may not have merit. Even the best child actors can drift into precociousness. This is not the case here, as young actor Thomas Doret is captivating in a natural rendition. The Dardenne brothers get credit for allowing our lead character to just react. When faced with the reality of his situation, he underplays, sometimes in silence, which speaks much louder than any dialogue ever could. His acting is less of a performance than the candidly captured portrait of an actual 11 year old boy. He commands attention. Doret's talent makes up for the bare bones details that sometimes remain underdeveloped. Yet the sketchiness of the narrative feels like real life. For me the hardest thing for me to understand was his dad's capacity to disassociate from his pre-teen son. How could a father abandon his child after 11 years so easily? The justification he gives doesn't substantiate the magnitude of his decision. At first the lack of specifics is frustrating. However It provided a justification for Cyril's subsequent misbehavior. The youngster's inability to accept his father's abandonment matched mine. He was an unruly little boy but I felt as he did. Despite his unmanageable behavior, Cyril always remained a sympathetic individual at heart.

Mark Hobin
Mark Hobin

Super Reviewer

A Belgian boy tries to reunite with the father who abandoned him; a single hairdresser takes an interest in his plight. Young Thomas Doret is excellent as the understandably troubled boy who craves love but instinctively sabotages his chances in this thoughtful heartstring-tugger.

Greg S
Greg S

Super Reviewer

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