In every way.
After the horror of "A Dangerous Method", a film that managed to wipe out years of good will towards Cronenberg and solidify my loathing of Knightley, it was a delight to exit a cinema feeling that my faith in film, art and my fellow human beans had been restored.
The Dardenne brothers are serious film-makers and men who are well respected at home, abroad and by the film community. With "The Kid With a Bike" though they have made a film that will play with a wider audience...it is, at the most basic level, a simple story of a boy from a broken home desperately seeking someone, anyone, to love him and it will touch everyone who makes the effort to see it.
Crucial to the film working is the performance of Thomas Doret as "Cyril"...the kid with a bike. In a world where so much is made of performances that are, no better than, average this is a performance that should leave you speechless. Doret is absolutely convincing as a damaged, traumatised, violent, loving, bruised and battered boy who has been let down at every turn by a father (the brilliant Jeremie Renier) who is the very definition of "absent".
Dorets relationship with local hairdresser Samanthan (Cecile De France) is achingly honest and accurate as the two come to terms with whatever it is that has bound them to one another. De France is fabulous as the woman who decides that the broken young boy she chances upon deserves one person who will stand by him, love him and support him. There is no reason for her to be that person...there is no blood tie but she sacrifices her time, her money and her reputation to do the right thing.
With your local multiplex about to be poisoned by the second "Titans" movie I would suggest that you trot along to your nearest independent cinema and support a film that actually has something to say and that will leave you feeling much better about yourself and the world around you.