One very weak effort.


I just can't believe this movie went on to win Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film festival in 2005. It has to be among the weakest film I have seen in the last two years or so. And generally this is my kinf of film and I love french cinema. But here, I find that the story was weak and uninvolving and so were the actors. (Not awful but not that great). The direction didn't impressed me either.

In a year where films like 2046 were presented at the festival, I don't see how this quite mediocre movie could have won the Palme d'or. I think that the Cannes film festival has lost credibility over the last few years. Very disappointing.

Anyways, just my opinion.

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you love french cinema? well this is belgian cinema... and take it from a belgian... we have a strange way of moviemaking... but I think it's great!!

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Sorry for that. I thought it was French.

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Mediocre??? This was the best new film I saw in the whole of 2006!!! Wondrefully involving, redemptive, truthful, etc. Have another look, you might just change your mind!

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I know that a lot of people loved it obviously, and I respect that of course, but many hated it as well. To me it wasn't very good, (while not awful). It's true though, that sometimes you need to give a second chance to certain things (and people too :-) Maybe I will have another look eventually.

Take care!

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I'm with you fr-au. I enjoyed the film as it was going but the ending was weak. I realize not every movie has to have an over the top ending, but this ending was just blah.

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As Jean-Luc and Pierre Dardenne's 1999 Cannes laureate Rosetta suggested a Marxist remake of Bresson's Mouchette, so their second Palme d'Or triumph, L'Enfant, revisits Bresson's more abstract Pickpocket in its saga of crime and punishment. L'Enfant is structured as a series of tasks, culminating in a chase that, both metaphoric and intensely physical, is also an agonizing descent into the depths. 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.

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To compare this film to 2046 is like apples to oranges - one is a pure arty-farty fantasy with lots of bells and whistles, pretentious visual-audio sensory overload, the other is a gritty no-frills cinema verite in the tradition of The Bicycle Thief.

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I know what you mean. However, I was not comparing it to 2046 at all. I just think that it was a much better movie. And I don't think it is "pretentious visual-audio sensory overload". In fact I thought it was a deep and moving story, but told in the gorgeous and rich artistic style of WKW, which can seem pretentious for many. But I respect your opinion. A lot of people hated 2046 as well, so...

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the emotional content in this movie is amazing
and the personality of the characters
I just love it *o*!!

is not a mediocre movie, not all the directors can make you really feel the emotions involves in a movie
that's the magic =)

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i just saw the movie, it was recommended to me, and i was sure i will like it. Well, didn't. For me it wasnt involving, the emotional content distant, and the personality of the characters well to say the least immature and childish (which yeah i understand it's the reason the film is called l'enfant, not for poor jimmy...). The only scene that's worth the movie it's the chase on the scotter, above all,the hiding in the water. If this is a portrait of the nihilistic meets hedonistic life of a portion of the belgium youth, well, im very very depressed, if that's the reason it's emotionally engaging, i guess it is then. yawning.

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I loved this film. The characters were very realistic and the story was touching. I love French/Belgian cinéma, and this film makes me think of François Truffaut.

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"I love French/Belgian cinéma, and this film makes me think of François Truffaut."


Note to self then: never watch a Truffaut movie.
Thanks!

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Oh my, your note to self has been wrong all these years. It's not Truffaut you should've been avoiding but Bresson. (Who's one of the all time greats, of course ;)

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I am obsessed with François Truffaut, He inspired me so much, I believe I will never love so much a film director as I love him.
Honestly this movie didn't inspire me, It's very realistic and powerful, but still I feel like somehow something was missing, I watched it twice and still have the same opinion I don't think the palm d'or was deserved. I was expecting a lot more.
All Truffaut's movies taught me something, inspired me, touched my heart and soul and made me want to be part of this world.
unfortunately I can't say the same about this movie and I am not comparing this movie to Truffaut's work, That's something I could never do, He was just too unique.

Still, the main actors' performance was amazing.

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I didn't see yet "4 luni, 3 spatmani si 2 zile" ('4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days') the big winner prize from Cannes in 2007, but i know that I liked the winner from 2006 ("The Wind That Shakes the Barley") - that movie is a very good biopic and a great lesson of history.

"L'enfant" seem too way ammateurish and I didn't buy the tragedy of the two young parents.

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This was an incredibly well-done film, although The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada was very good too. As for Cannes losing its credibility, the fact that Fahrenheit 9/11 won over Life is a Miracle and Clean is a travesty.

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Completely agree with the OP, the film was average, but certainly unworthy of the awards it received, it felt like a 3-star TV movie. Ken Loach could have made this great in his sleep.

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I just don't know where I am with Cannes Palm D'Or winners anymore. I'm looking at my DVD box here: "more than a masterpiece" "the most exciting, emotionally complex, and incredibly acted film you're likely to see all year". I'm about to email British Trading Standards for false advertising.
It's been a long time since I watched a film that was so directorially listless, dull, and uninspiring. I suppose because the two leads cry at each other, with no dialogue, for two minutes at the end, that that is in some way meant to make up for the complete lack of emotional depth I'd had to sit through: it simply won't wash.

I'm a great fan of European cinema, but that film's almost universal praise galls me, and kind of shocks me, too. It's made me scared of watching another well-prized film again. The central conceit of child selling looked boring (and is, by the way, resolved a third of the way into the movie) from the outset, but then the childishness between the two leads blossomed, and then...and then...NOTHING ELSE. The guy's a crook and doesn't really think about changing - even AFTER the baby selling incident - and in fact only does so when it's so beyond doubt he's going to get caught by the police, and also conveniently gets him out of paying back his debt to the gangsters! How noble. The morals of this film are so vague and basic, I hate watching a film and afterwards think 'my life hasn't been enriched in any way whatsoever'.
I don't really care about 'likeable characters' and all that baloney, but surely the first invenstment you make in a movie is caring about its outcome and how it affects the characters?!

The point at which I realised I hated his film was the farting episode. Yes, you read that right, the farting episode. The two characters are waiting for someone, and one of them farts. The other then laughs. End of scene. Now we already know the two are mates, there is no extra comaraderie struck up here, it's just a really base, cheap laugh, that Euro cinema constantly crows about the evils of (eek! whisper it...) Hollywood. Imagine you're watching a Will Ferrell movie and someone makes a fart joke. You roll your eyes and complain: rightly so! Then, on top of that, I realised I didn't care if he threw the baby in the bloody river.

There's almost zero character arc in any of them. 'She' seems a bit of a slapper, and sometimes hates him, sometimes loves him, whatever is most convenient for the scene at hand. 'He' is a stupid thief who can't stop wasting money and getting in trouble, and whenever he has a chance at redemption, blows it. As stated above, he only gives up when he knows there's nowhere else to go.

I'll never see another Dardenne Bros movie ever again. European cinema deserves better than this tripe. And the script is so dull! Totally lacking any invention or insight. "OOh, but it's the fact that HE'S the child of the film." Yeah...and...so...what? That doesn't make it interesting or profound.

I've really no idea why this film has pissed me off so much. I just got through watching it about ten minutes ago, so maybe I'll have cooled towards tomorrow. I very much doubt it.
2/10

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The acting was good and I liked the gritty tone. But the film didn't get to anything, at least for me: 6/10.
Seen better films than this one ( and a lot worse, it has to be said ).
But overall I expected more from a Palme D'or winner.

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I'd have to agree with essentially the notion that the film does not meet expectations, expectations spawned by years and years of conditioning to certain conventions of cinema. For the most part, it is an uneventful film. It is hard to call it a perfect film, or even a great film. However, I did find it moving and effective. Some scenes and moments are indeed strange (why does Bruno's mother react so listlessly? etc.); seeing as how it is a film that wanted to reflect a realism akin to what such "real-life" characters would experience, it falls flat, wrong, at certain moments. But for what the Dardenne's wanted to do, I believe they were fairly successful. I liked that they wanted to keep to a minimalist, unconventional notion of cinema (lack of shot-reverse shot, very long takes, handheld, etc.), and in this they were successful in not exuding a cinematic quality, but an acceptable realism. There are several other filmmakers/films that have a similar approach, done before and after L'Enfant, but few are as effective in conveying an honest sense of time, reality, and life.

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Thanks for this perfect review. Couldnt agree more!

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This film is an indictment of all that is putrid in European life. It is childish, totally self-centered and without moral compass. And what redemption? Does Bruno see the error of his ways - NO! He cries because he is caught. Think WWII and fraudulent redemption of the nazi into good Germans.

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