Father and child sit together smiling while looking at a smart phone.

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Parents' Guide to

The Kid with a Bike

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Downbeat but powerful drama about childhood and love.

Movie PG-13 2012 87 minutes
The Kid with a Bike Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have made their career with series of quietly observant, subtly profound movies. The Kid with a Bike may be their most universal movie, packed with primal emotions, small beauties, and terrors so simple that they can almost pass by unnoticed. The first meeting of Cyril and Samantha, for example, happens with an embrace during a moment of chaos, and it may not resonate until much later.

If the movie has a drawback, it's that the low-key, realistic filmmaking style, with documentary-style hand-held cameras, doesn't seem to mesh with the adult characters; their behavior is more symbolic than realistic. Cyril's father, in flatly abandoning his son, cannot possibly generate any sympathy with any audience. And Samantha may baffle some viewers with her immediate, unquestioned acceptance of the huge responsibility of taking care of Cyril. However, the powerful emotions and themes are all there to be discovered at the viewers' own pace.

Movie Details

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