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Kid with a Bike, The (12A)


Abandoned by his father, a young boy is left in a state-run youth farm. In a random act of kindness, the town hairdresser agrees to foster him on weekends.

The critical consensus

It’s a testament to the filmmakers that the everyday, shown without hyperbole, can be made into such a captivating story, which never feels stale or predictable.

*****Gail Tolley, The List, 28/02/2012

Good enough to survive evoking Bicycle Thieves and The 400 Blows, this small story contains universal truths, told with irresistible force.

****(*)Jamie Graham, Total Film, 12/03/2012

Their central characters are flawed, and often do awful things, but the Dardennnes’ world view is entirely practical.

****(*)The Scotsman, 18/03/2012

In outline it sounds trite — a disenfranchised kid is turned around by a kindly stranger — but the Dardennes’ make it so much more. Raw but compassionate, naturalistic but compelling. If you’re looking to get into the Dardennes, this is a great place to start.

****(*)Ian Freer, Empire Online, 19/03/2012

Honest, touching, with outstanding performances from Doret as the troubled youngster and de France as the single woman trying her best. Go by bike, bus, car or shanks' pony to see this one.

****(*)Alison Rowat, The Herald, 22/03/2012

Compassionate, humane but never sentimental.

****(*)Jason Wood, Little White Lies, 22/03/2012

There are surprising hints of strain in the Dardenne brothers' new film.

**(*)(*)(*)Tim Robey, The Telegraph, 22/03/2012

A poignant celebration of youthful tenacity in the face of adversity, as well as an unshowy tribute to the value of doing the right thing.

****(*)Alistair Harkness, The Scotsman, 22/03/2012

That the film manages to move the viewer so profoundly while remaining completely free of any false sentimentality could be regarded as a special achievement, but it's simply par for the course for this peerless filmmaking duo.

*****Philip Concannon, The Skinny, 22/03/2012

The film is unafraid of emotion, unafraid of plunging into basic human ideas: the need for trust, and the search for love.

****(*)Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, 22/03/2012

Sun-kissed Seraing is beautifully captured by cinematographer Alain Marcoen and the scenes of Cyril pedalling furiously through the city have the charm of half-remembered boyhood summers. I just wish I could have liked the film more.

***(*)(*)Allan Hunter, Daily Express, 23/03/2012

Scene by scene The Kid with a Bike is absorbing, and De France brings terrific warmth to the foster-volunteer.

***(*)(*)Anthony Quinn, The Independent, 23/03/2012

A gem – and one of the first unmissable films of 2012.

David Edwards, Daily Record, 23/03/2012

The Kid With the Bike reveals [Jean-Pierre and Luc Bardenne] at their best and as they really are – superbly economical storytellers who happen to work, with precise craftsmanship, using dramatic materials that their local terrain provides.

*****Jonathan Romney, The Independent, 25/03/2012

In good form, if somewhat short of [the brothers'] very best.

Philip French, The Observer, 25/03/2012

What the Dardennes have created is an intelligent and thought-provoking insight into the detrimental effects that the lack of a patriarchal figure can have on kids, but more importantly, a film which champions and salutes the continued altruistic efforts of those who voluntarily care for them.

****(*)Callum Madge, TV Bomb, 29/03/2012

Features about Kid with a Bike, The (12A)

Dardenne brothers: 'We don't argue in front of the actors'

Anne Billson, The Guardian, 15/03/2012

Kid with a Bike, The (12A)

Where and when?

Edinburgh Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Friday March 23, 2012, until Thursday April 12, 2012. More info:

General release. Check local listings for show times.

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