Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Jérémie Renier, DEBORAH FRANCOIS, Jérémie Segard, Fabrizio Rongione, Olivier Gourmet
Directors: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
A young and impoverished Belgian couple must deal with the consequences when they sell their child for money.
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avoraciousreader | Somewhere in the Space Time Continuum | 11/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film sneaks up on you. About half-way through I put it aside and never got back to it, and would have been perfectly happy returning it unfinished. But then I discovered I had another day, so finished watching it, and by the final scene I was crying with Bruno and Sonia.
Sure, when the film starts out both Sonia (wandering around Seraing looking for her baby daddy) and Bruno are narcissistic, nearly emotionless, drifters, pretty but about as interesting as the flotsam by the canal that is a constant presence. But the shocking central event, when Bruno sells their days-old infant to an illicit adoption ring, brings about transformation. Sonia develops spine, resolve, purpose (primarily to have nothing to do with Bruno, who has crossed way over the line). Bruno's comfortable (in its own way) life of petty crime spirals downward as he gets on the wrong side of some heavy, or at least heavier, hitters, and then a robbery goes drastically wrong. But in the end, he has stepped up to the plate and done the right thing at least a couple of times. Weak, but not mean, it seems Bruno may also be becoming a chordate. The final scene ties it all together emotionally and leaves us with some hope, but not certainty, for Bruno and Sonia.
I rate the film a bit shy of 5*, but will round up to compensate for some of the extremely negative reviews."
Portrait of the Loser as a Young Man ...
Kevin Quinley | Fairfax, VA | 12/30/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Bruno is an amateur loser. No job. No prospects. Won't work. Lives by thievery and his small-time hustles. Bruno - new father - tries to sell his baby to strangers without the mother's knowledge. For some reason, she reacts negatively when he informs her of the transaction. Imagine that!
He spirals downward until he touches bottom and shows a flicker of integrity just when he is put in the slammer for purse-snatching. Can he turn his life around?
Maybe but ... why should we care?
Eschewing realism, the baby in this movie never cries. Bruno does, though. Due to this and the rest of his immature behavior, he is the true enfant in this film.
Andrew Ellington | I'm kind of everywhere | 03/16/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"`L'enfant' contains a shocking moment in which new father (and petty thief), Bruno, sells his son Jimmy. He returns to his girlfriend, Sonia, to nonchalantly give her the news and then offers up the money and the words "I thought we'd have another" as a form of comfort for her loss, a loss she had absolutely no say in.
The film `L'enfant' is a gritty and disturbing look into the lives of the morally conflicted. We are introduced to the couple shortly after the birth of their son. Sonia is a naïve and slightly immature teenager who completely buys into the inadequacies of her boyfriend Bruno. She, apparently, has enough of a stable mind to hold some sort of a job (we are never informed as to `what' she does) but Bruno refuses to work, resorting to stealing for quick cash, of which is spends impulsively and rather stupidly. The couple is carefree and it shows in the way they react to their current situation. Bruno doesn't visit Sonia in the hospital, and he doesn't even care much for holding his own son. Instead, Bruno looks for ways to make a buck, and if that means selling a child he doesn't want to have to work to support, so be it.
This shocking moment happens about a half-hour into the movie. Sonia, almost immediately, shifts from girl to woman, stirring up her maternal instincts of protection as she expels Bruno from her life.
Bruno spends the rest of the film seeking out his own redemption.
The films second half steps away from the literal `child' and focuses on the figurative `child'; Bruno. We come to know and understand his mindset and his fears as he strives to find himself amidst his own selfish (and instinctual) impulses. This is the story of one man's inability to find solace in his actions, a man in need of a serious readjustment. The final frame, the emotional collapse, leads way to a glimmer of hope. Maybe, just maybe, this young man has finally got it; but with that `hope' comes the doubt as to whether or not this sudden realization will actually `stick'.
The ambiguities are haunting.
The bare direction is stunning; the gritty and naturally realistic way in which the film is conveyed. The acting is all stellar. Both Jeremie Renier (not to be mistaken for the recently Oscar nominated Jeremy Renner) and Deborah Francois are simply brilliant here. Renier understands the nuances needed to create a relatable and believable `villain'. He is limited by his own selfish instincts, but he is notably trying. There is a softness to him that perfectly underscores the fact that he means well, he just doesn't understand the consequences of his own actions. Francois is marvelous here, especially in the way she handles her characters sudden yet wholly believable tonal shift. Her collapse gave me chills.
`L'enfant' is not an easy film to watch. It is harsh (emotionally) and truly haunting. It touches upon themes that are remarkably poignant and it is a film that feels so raw and real that it will leave you breathless."