Film Review: The Kid With a Bike

Jean Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s new film is at once realistic and humanistic.
By Anthony Kaufman
March/April 2012
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The Kid With a Bike (in theaters and on video-on-demand; Sundance Selects)

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Deceptively simple and surprisingly uplifting, the latest movie from Belgian filmmakers Jean Pierre and Luc Dardenne concerns a 12-year-old misfit who is shunned by his father and finds solace with a hairdresser.

Like the Dardennes’ low-key, sublime stunners Rosetta, The Son, and The Child, the film is at once highly realistic, set in working-class housing projects, and profoundly humanistic; every character, even the most duplicitous, comes across as complex and sympathetic. Beyond its familiar coming-of-age arc, it’s quietly transcendent and will sneak up on you with an emotional wallop.

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