Angsty 11-year-old Cyril, refuses to believe he has been rejected by his single father. Although he spends his days desperately searching for him, the patience and compassion of a stranger who agrees to care for him, offers the boy a chance to move on.
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What a film this was - Brilliantly acted and neatly shot while it deals with a boy's slice of life (his father's rejecting & the bicycle, his feelings about life & the hairdresser, etc.). Those Dardenne brothers know how to shoot a film with true feeling. Left impressed & melancholic by the film's tone, nothing more I can say but a modern masterpiece of a boy's life and self-control is the answer to our problems.
It's certainly lesser Dardenne in my book but lesser Dardenne is still awe inspiring. Once again, simplicity is absolutely key. They have a gift of seemingly simple stories with lot of subtext and subtleties which is what makes their filmmaking so powerful. Like the comment below me, I agree that the music felt necessary and I feared for a moment that there were two climaxes but the very last shot proved me wrong.
Sure, the sudden upswell of strings from the Emperor Concerto took me by surprise, too, but if the Dardennes haven't earned their bona fides as unflinching unsentimentalists by now, no one has, so I think they should be granted as much slack as they require. The humanism for which they're famous may be a little more approachable here, but it's no less rigorous for that. This is heartbreaking but fiercely lucid work.
Oh the childhood memories. The bikes. The free-runs, the soccer matches...all that courage...the way he climbed up that three...I just wonder if he's gonna be alright...I guess he was so kicked around by karma that for now, he's gonna be ok. The scene where his dad kicks him out? Oceans of tears...the kid was so tough, he never broke down, he never cried. He's my hero. He fell from the three and back on the bike: hi5