The Kid With a Bike (2011)
Director: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Stars: Thomas Doret, Cécile De France, Jérémie Renier
Imagine a Disney movie about a compromised nuclear family, but with the sentiment razored away, most of the dialogue removed, the performances dialed down to only the essentials, and with a genuine magic that borders on the religious. That's The Kid With a Bike, the latest from the Dardenne brothers. A boy who's been abandoned by his father is taken in by a single woman who works as a hairdresser. The boy races everywhere, his body acting out the vertiginous loss of his dad. Competing for the boy's attention is a neighborhood thug with cigarettes, schemes, and slick-backed hair.
By cooking down the story to its fundamental parts, the Dardennes have made a hyper-real fairy tale that takes the viewer low and high on the wings of grace.