A candidly spectacular shot of the kid resiliently riding his bike against the night breeze after being dumped by his father is a mute evidence of what a solemn masterpiece the film is. The Kid with a Bike, a compelling French drama, directed by Dardenne brothers, tells the tale of a kid, Cyril, aggressive by nature, who desperately wants to stay with his broke father even after being abandoned by him in a foster home. The initial scenes where he obsessively tries to escape the hold of caretakers and trace his beloved bike and his father’s whereabouts entirely on his own set the tone and immerse you in the thick of things. Samantha, an empathetic hairdresser from the same town, who accidentally meets the kid, offers to foster him during the weekends but the kid simply can’t be put on a leash. He wants his father and only his father failing which he could wreak havoc and even hurt those who care for him.
How do you make a kid in such mental state to understand the thunderblow of reality? Samantha tries hard but sometimes, it’s better to let them go and realize it for themselves and that’s what the film does. It exploits the kid’s extreme sense of rebelliousness to draw a path to his own discovery of love and warmth of those who love him. Stunning performance by the child actor, Thomas Doret, especially when he breaks into places and fights against restraints and during those heartbreakingly apologetic moments while Cécile De France as Samantha is just credible as the helpless someone who wants to help.
One moment – the kid dodges the chasing caretakers and clings onto a stranger woman unwilling to go away when the woman says, “You can hold onto me, but not so tight”, expressing great comfort that she would be coming for the kid anyway but it’s alright for him to feel her temporary warmth – a film needs just one moment as such to transcend boundaries and become great cinema.