The Kid with a Bike - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Kid with a Bike Reviews

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June 11, 2017
Pretty half-baked, especially by the standards of the Dardennes. For most of its length it's an exercise in frustration, watching an extremely unpleasant child with no impulse control cause chaos around him and push the limits of how unlikable a protagonist can be (I'm all for unlikable characters but this is the type of child that inspires fantasies of murder in others). And then suddenly everything gets resolved and the movie ends. It's abrupt to the point of feeling unfinished. My favourite part was Renier's character treating his son like a crazy ex-girlfriend.
½ January 24, 2017
Over the course of this short film, I fell in love with it. A story of rebellion, and heartbreak between one little boy, his father and his bike. It is awesomely filmed. I loved so many little sections of this film, such as the long bike ride in the dark, as well as the final scene which had me glued to the screen in shock. Foreign films don't get better.
Super Reviewer
½ December 5, 2016
Although interesting at first, this drama is 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 annoying than anything else, the young protagonist is way too unlikable.
½ September 9, 2016
French film. Touching story of a boy who furiously refuses to believe that his father has abandoned him, and the woman who reaches out to him and accepts him despite his aggressive behavior.
August 16, 2016
Ao assumirem um compromisso de retratar seus personagens de forma realista, os irmãos Dardenne se perdem justamente ao designarem aos mesmos algumas atitudes claramente artificiais. Mesmo apesar desta grave falha (e da eventual trilha sonora), o belga O GAROTO DA BICICLETA é um bom filme e lida com questões como abandono e socialização de maneira interessante.
May 21, 2016
really powerful cause it's true to its dark corners. And the kid's good too. 400 Blows meets Bicicyle Thief. If I was an 18 year old film student again it'd probably be one of my favorites.
½ March 6, 2016
I had never seen a film by the Dardenne brothers, and now I really want to see a lot more of their films. A kid who's been abandoned by his father and lives in a state home is fostered on weekends by a hairdresser. His desperate need for affection from a father figure leads to dramatic and violent acting out, and she tries to cope. There's not a lot more to this film, but there's a kind of poetic realism at play in it that drives out a lot from a very small amount of plot. The performance they get from Thomas Doret as the boy is fairly incredible ... he really dominates the film.
½ January 24, 2016
Happy-sad, slight film of an errant boy in need of unconditional love looking for it in all the wrong places.
December 12, 2015
Very sad, but one would be hard pressed to find a better acting job by a child.
September 27, 2015
A heart-wrenching story told with charm and elegance. This is a wonderful and touching movie for pretty much everyone
September 5, 2015
Great if you want to wring your hands in pity, but while the story arc is well managed, the plot itself is unremarkable and, apart from Samantha's, the characterisations are sometimes a bit clumsy and obvious, not really bringing anything new to the genre. The kid makes a reasonable job of his acting, but his part was a bit uneven, though certainly very good at times.
½ August 25, 2015
Great film, it was a sad movie and the acting was fantastic. Storyline went well and was better then I thought it would be, almost considered giving this a 4/5 Stars. Highly recommend watching!
½ April 28, 2015
The Dardenne Brothers channel Ken Loach and Vittorio De Sica with what feels like Kes with nods to Bicycle Thieves. The Kid With a Bike may not be the equal of those towering classics, but it's a film that depicts a side to growing up rarely portrayed as honestly.
½ April 22, 2015
With an affecting look at a young boy's struggle to move on from his toxic male father-figures, the Dardenne's capture a slice of a life that is both fascinating and moving (with several nods to the iconic The Bicycle Thieves thrown in for good measure).
March 28, 2015
This coming of age drama about a somewhat uncontrollable boy includes themes of loss and abandonment, pleasing, and acceptance. It includes some heart-wrenching scenes. 1001
September 13, 2014
Harsh reality! This is what its like we also get some really fine performances as well as some pretty shocking moments. Watch it its a great movie
August 30, 2014
Lovely and real-a rare combination. Some admirable acting.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ August 7, 2014
Don't worry, little Christopher Lee, because when you grow up, you can get rid of that crummy old bike, and get yourself a golden gun. Well, the title makes me think of that, for some reason, as well as a generic BMX chase movie from the '80s, except instead of the titular kid with a bike being chased by the grown-up, the kid is trying to chase down his father. The Dardenne brothers really know how to showcase the struggles of children caught up in some misfortune... and then figure out how to bore you with it. At the very least, you'll end up with some disdain towards the kid that probably shouldn't be there, because the last time we saw Jérémie Renier, he was the lead in "The Child", and now that child is grown up and being rejected by that poor sucker who keeps hoping that people will mistake him for Jeremy Renner, thus making him sort of relevant. Shoot, before that, we had "The Son", so maybe the Dardennes have some daddy issues or something, although you couldn't entirely tell from watching this film, for this is much more upbeat than the Dardennes previous films. ...I mean upbeat in subject matter, not upbeat in tone, because that insinuates that this film is about as lively as its story suggests. No, this film is a fairly engaging coming-of-age drama, at least more so than "Rosetta" (Maybe I would care more about the kid's problems if I actually cared about the kid), though not exactly more so than it can be.

As reflected in, say, a runtime which more-or-less pathetically falls short of 90 minutes, this story, despite being a showcase for worthy subject matter, is not especially special, following a straightforward narrative whose simplicity is bland enough, without the familiarity. Films like these are to be characterized by their being distinct, but something that the Dardenne brothers have always been good at is doing nothing new with storytelling of this style, and sure enough, this film is not simply formulaic, but entirely derivative, and not even of a strong structure to begin with. This film isn't quite as cold as, say, "Rosetta", but it still thrives on aimless meditations upon a whole lot of nothing, for the sake of naturalism that would be immersive if it wasn't for the fact that real life is typically more lively than this. The Dardenne's directorial thoughtfulness works better than I feared, but it still falls over do-nothing material, thus, when things dry up, the drama dull down, generally to a bland degree, and often to a dull degree which distances about as much as the aspects of storytelling which are anything but draggy. Intentionally meandering along, with no real dramatic romanticism, this film seems to hold onto the hope that you'll just happen to stumble upon exposition, as it doesn't really provide any background information, and its gradual characterization is so superficial, not in layers, but in overall exploration. It's a little difficult to get ahold on what's so worthy about the titular lead and his peers, because the film wants you to simply get used to it, yet it still challenges your patience and investment with familiarity, meandering and dullness, and its story isn't even all that juicy to begin with. This film was never to be much, but it also could have fallen so much flatter than it ultimately does, with even the Dardenne's direction having its endearing aspects.

I still can't figure out how it's taking two people to do essentially nothing, because, again, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne rely on an empty directorial style that relies on naturalism and, especially nowadays, boasts very, very little actual style, and yet, one has to appreciate the audacity and the charming ambition in the minimalist, naturalist storytelling sensibilities applied here. Your appreciation will surely be augmented once the Dardennes' overt meditativeness proves effective, with an immersively delicate tastefulness that resonates upon finding material to draw upon which, with a lesser story, would be borderline nonexistent. This story is nothing new, and not much more than nothing at all, and it's easy to expect this film to go the way of certain other Dardenne dramas of this type and fall flat, but through all of the questionable narrative structuring is genuinely worthy subject matter regarding a troubled boy trying to connect with his family and changes in life. There is potential to salvage here, and the Dardenne's don't even do much with it through their script, which is minimalist, but not as do-nothing as I feared, offering plenty of dialogue to help enrich what expository depth there is, and to always provide the meditativeness with something to work with to keep you from getting too bored between the dramatic heights. Honestly, there isn't much to compliment in this lightly drawn affair, but where this film could have gotten completely carried away with its minimalism and fallen as yet another mediocre misfire for the Dardennes, it carries the charm to endear, just as it carries the performances to humanize. This film relies on mere meditations to its dramatics, and that can either distance you a great deal, or allow you to soak in the subtle nuances to, say, the performances, and sure enough, although the performers have little to work with, they do what they can to the best of their abilities, or at least that's the case with Cécile de France, and with young lead Thomas Doret, who is near-remarkably realized in his projection of a flawed and concerned lad's angst and depth. The Cyril Catoul character, with his limited development and great deal of questionable aspects which only grow more and more problematic before finally being dismissed through a desperate attempt at redemption, could have turned out like the lead in the Dardenne's "Rosetta", a kid too flawed to be engaging, even with an inspired portrayal, but Doret, the central focus of this drama, ultimately soaks up enough heart to keep the final product pumping as a charming and often effective, if challenging drama.

Its story thin to begin with, a wholly derivative and questionably draggy and cold, when not developmentally vacant storytelling style threaten the final product's decency, ultimately secured by the worthy subject matter, thoughtful directorial highlights, adequately busy script and nuanced performances by Cécile de France and Thomas Doret which make the Dardenne brothers' "The Kid with a Bike" a serviceably engaging and sometimes effective drama, despite the problematic storytelling aspects which could have made it so much worse.

2.5/5 - Fair
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