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The Child(L'enfant)

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Belgium, France · 2005
Rated R · 1h 35m
Director Jean-Pierre Dardenne
Starring Jérémie Renier, Déborah François, Olivier Gourmet, Jérémie Segard
Genre Drama, Romance

Bruno and Sonia, a young couple living off her benefit and the thefts committed by his gang, have a new source of money: their newborn son.

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What are critics saying?


New York Magazine (Vulture) by

The Dardennes' most accessible film. Their handheld camera catches tiny flickers of emotion that few filmmakers come near; you feel as if you're watching the movements of a soul.


The New Yorker by Anthony Lane

There is something willed and implausible at the heart of L’Enfant, beginning with the child himself--the first non-crying, non-hungry infant in human history, let alone in cinema.


L.A. Weekly by Ella Taylor

As Dardenne films go, with their slow, minutely observed journeys from despair to faint hope, L'Enfant is a horror movie of sorts, and for a few minutes at least, a kind of thriller.


Village Voice by J. Hoberman

Above all, this is an action film--or, better, a transaction film. It's not just that the Dardennes orchestrate an exciting motor scooter purse-snatching and a prolonged hot pursuit. L'Enfant is an action film because every act that happens is shown to have a consequence.


The A.V. Club by Noel Murray

L'Enfant is intended as a pointed critique of pop culture's celebration of arrested adolescence. The title could refer to Renier's baby, Renier himself, or even the gang of schoolboy robbers that he's gathered around himself.


Entertainment Weekly by Owen Gleiberman

It makes sense that L'Enfant has been hailed as a masterpiece, since a masterpiece is what it's trying, in every unvarnished frame, to be. If you wandered unknowingly into the film, however, you would see this: a stark, fascinating, and naggingly detached character study.


Christian Science Monitor by Peter Rainer

Sonia may seem happy-go-lucky at the start, but grief steels her. It makes her grow up very fast. She becomes a kind of heroine in the course of the film, which ultimately owes its stature to her presence.


Rolling Stone by Peter Travers

Renier and Francois give deeply affecting performances that help soften the film's harsh blows. But only in the compassionate eye of the Dardennes do these three children achieve a state of grace.


Variety by Scott Foundas

Those masters of small-scale realism, Belgian brothers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, have created yet another beautifully acted, exquisitely observed morality tale in The Child.

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