L'enfant (2005)
February 22, 2019 9:22 AM - Subscribe

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.

Directed by directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Bruno, 20, and Sonia, 18, are surviving on her welfare cheques and Bruno's petty crimes when Sonia becomes pregnant. While Sonia is absent, Bruno sells their baby to a black market adoption ring to make some quick cash. He tells Sonia, telling her that they can simply "make" another baby, but Sonia is sickened and faints.

Faced with Sonia's shock, and feeling regret for his mistake, Bruno buys the child back at a premium—but, after being turned away by Sonia, his mounting debts lead Bruno down a quick path to desperation. He also learns Sonia is pressing charges. He winds up in prison, and Sonia visits him, sharing a moment of despair.

Winner of the Palme d'Or in 2005 Cannes Film Festival.

14th on the best films of the 21st century so far by the NYT.

From Ebert: But let me just bluntly tell you what happens in the film, while observing that "L'Enfant," more than almost any film I can think of, is not about plot development but about putting one foot in front of the other. We meet Sonia and Bruno. She has just borne his child. The baby in her arms, she finds Bruno begging from cars at a traffic light while serving as a lookout for a burglary in progress. She shows him their child. He is as interested as if she had shown him her new phone card.
posted by Carillon (3 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Oh heck I'm watching La Promesse right this moment and was getting prepared to post it. I saw The Unknown Girl a couple days ago. It's been a Dardennesathon but I haven't seen this one yet...
posted by fleacircus at 8:08 PM on February 23, 2019

It's really interesting and I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. Bruno is such an alienating character in a lot of ways and I would have liked spending more time on Sonia who doesn't sell her baby.
posted by Carillon at 2:39 PM on February 24, 2019

I finally got around to seeing this. Jérémie Renier is really good as always. It is a bit strange, to have kind of thrilling criminal deals and chase scenes, with this character seeking redemption, but after being *so* monstrous and foolish in the beginning, the morality tale aspect seemed like a strange fit. Or maybe I've seen too many movies by these writer/directors now.
posted by fleacircus at 3:34 PM on March 21, 2020

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