Unsurprisingly, the Dardennes latest is great. Surprisingly, it's not even that despairing!
Tuesday, September 13, 4:30 p.m.
Winter Garden Theatre (189 Yonge Street)
Thursday, September 15, 7:45 p.m.
Isabel Bader Theatre (93 Charles Street West)
After finding out his dad has moved out and left no forwarding address (and sold off his beloved bike), Cyril (Thomas Doret) takes to spending weekends away from his boarding school with Samantha (Cécile de France), a kindly hairdresser doubling as fairy godmother. While spending time with Samantha, Cyril falls in with a teenage hoodlum known only as Wes (Egon Di Mateo), nicknamed after Resident Evil villain Albert Wesker. As Wes vies for the loyalty of the scrappy, slippery Cyril—seducing him with Fanta and PS3 games—Samantha struggles to keep the young boy who’s been so disillusioned by the broken promises of adults under her wing.
Like their last picture, 2008’s Lorna’s Silence, The Kid with a Bike feels slight, compared with films like The Son, or even L’enfant. But, like pizza and sex, there’s really no such thing as bad Dardennes. And unlike Lorna (or any of the Dardennes Bros. flicks to date) there’s a zip to Kid with a Bike that somehow doesn’t undermine all the stirring social realism. The Bros. further prove themselves perhaps the consummate cinematic dramatists, as their narrative bends and yaws as if it were actually, you know, happening. The last 10 minutes alone are a clinic in the Dardennes’ peerless mastery of naturalism.