Le gamin au velo
The Kid with a Bike
Directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne
I feared watching this film, mostly because its title conjured horrible memories of Bicycle Thieves that I long ago buried. Sure enough, this movie is just as sickeningly sentimental, but at least Bicycle Thieves had an adult actor who was up to bearing the brunt of the performance. All we got was Cyril.
Cyril's father has abandoned him, leaving him to live in children's care homes. He becomes obsessed with the idea of finding his father. During one of his father-seeking-related temper tantrums, he meets a nice woman who agrees to take him in on the weekends. He starts to fall in with a bad crowd (you can tell one of them is really bad because of his haircut).
To begin, Cyril is a pretty huge brat. Perhaps understandably so, but knowing why he is so obnoxious doesn't make him any easier to endure. I also found it a completely predictable story, with a rather vapid moral. Not to show off my superior intellect, but I even was able to divine the last shot of the movie just from the title. Please hold your applause until the end of this post.
In summary, a yawn. War Horse with a smaller budget. Skip.
The directors said this was their attempt at a fairy tale. Try, try again.