Star rating - 8/10
Now out on DVD is a very touching French film about a ten year old boy whose father has abandoned him to a children's' home. Cyril wants desperately to believe that his father still wants him, despite all the evidence to the contrary. He forms a relationship with a hairdresser, who he persuades to act as his foster parent at weekends.
Samantha shows unswerving dedication to the child, in the face of some pretty rough treatment. But what stands out here is the achingly sad story of Cyril, whose pain as a result of his parental neglect and lack of love is visceral. He shows animal strength and stubbornness, especially when his beloved bike is stolen by local youths, yet his emotional frailty is deeply moving.
The acting is superb, especially from Thomas Doret playing Cyril, and Cécile de France as Samantha is also very convincing in her supportive role. This film from directors Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne is certainly not an easy watch, but it is truthful and revealing about the failings and weaknesses of humans, and is ultimately redemptive in its message.