A Lost Boy and a Sliver of Hope in "The Kid With a Bike"

Samantha (Cécile de France) and Cyril (Thomas Doret) in Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's The Kid With a Bike.
Christine Plenus

In The Kid With a Bike, Cyril (Thomas Doret), a scrappy 11-year-old living in an urban orphanage, flees school in an attempt to track down both his deadbeat dad (Jérémie Renier) and the bike he left at his dad's house. On the lam, Cyril carelessly crashes into Samantha (Cécile de France), a hairdresser with a shop in Dad's former neighborhood, and impulsively asks her to be his foster mom. She agrees, but this tentative new family is threatened when Cyril, desperate for male mentorship, falls prey to the manipulations of Wes (Egon Di Mateo), a slick teenage thug. The second half of the film consists of a fight for Cyril's soul. The film is set in the summer, the T-shirted boy moving against a palette of primary colors and hazy, warm light—the vibe is hopeful, offering a tentative happy ending.

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