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Movie Review: L'Enfant (The Child)

Alternate Title: The Lost Boys

Story: The very talented director/writer team the Dardenne Brothers (Jean-Pierre and Luc) have created another non-judgmental morality tale about marginalized members of Belgium society. This film won last year's Palme d'Or at Cannes.

A teenage girl returns to her flat with her newborn son to find her thieving boyfriend has sublet their place for two nights for some quick cash.This couple without an apparent future live hand to mouth. His feral livelihood consists of stealing and fencing goods. He insists that real work is for suckers.

While she is on a long line for government subsidies he decides to sell the baby for cash to an underground adoption ring. She goes ballistic upon learning of his deed and the remainder of the film is about his getting the baby back and perhaps finding forgiveness and ultimately redemption.

This dark film is emotionally engaging and you find yourself both repulsed and absorbed by this character's behavior. Just who is the infant in this film? What does it take for a child to finally turn into an adult? How do people become this way? What responsibility does society have for a character like this? These are questions that flowed through my head while watching this film.

This is not a movie for everyone - that's for sure.

Acting: Perfect performances by young Jeremie Renier and Deborah Francois.

Predilection: I like to see award winning foreign films.

Critters: None. They can barely feed themselves, no less a critter.

Food: Bread and some gruel.

Soundtrack: Not a note of music to be heard.

Opening Titles: None

Visual Art: It is a very drab industrial town indeed. There is no art, good or bad to be seen anywhere.

Theater Audience: More crowded than I would have thought.

Sappy Factor: Not a drip of sap.

Squirm Scale: I was always worried about the baby.

Drift Factor: No time to drift.

Predictability Level: I had no idea where this film was headed.

Tissue Usage: I admit to getting teary eyed at the end

Oscar Worthy: Not Oscar worthy but Palme d'Or worthy

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine. Check out the other films by the Dardenne Bothers including The Promise, Rosetta and The Son.

Length: 90 minutes

LOBO HOWLS: 7