"Growing Up Is Hard to Do"
What You Need To Know:
L’ENFANT is a very slow, but ultimately powerful, realistic drama. The movie picks up in the second half. The movie is mainly a character study of Bruno, and the personal transformation he undergoes. It is unclear until the end that Bruno may be able to turn around his life. It is clear before that Bruno is actually the child referred to in the title, not his son Jimmy. Bruno’s personal transformation gives the movie its power, and a light Christian worldview, but there are a couple “f” words in the dialogue that deserve extreme caution.
(C, B, L, V, A, D, M) Light, but indirect, Christian worldview with light moral elements about a petty criminal who sells his own baby and uses young teenagers for his crimes but repents and does the right thing; five or six obscenities, including a couple “f” words, plus character passes gas in one scene; light violence when men hit another man who owes them money and rough him up and when thieves try to escape from pursuers after they stole a woman’s purse and have to hide in river but almost drown; no sex scenes but some kissing and young couple has baby out of wedlock; no nudity; light alcohol use; smoking; and, petty thief uses young teenagers for his crimes and sells his baby but later gets baby back, plus unmarried couple live off woman’s unemployment benefits and man’s petty crimes.
L’ENFANT is a French slice-of-life drama about 20-year-old Bruno and his 18-year-old girlfriend Sonia, who live off her unemployment benefits and the petty theft committed by Bruno and two young teenagers. When the movie opens, Sonia has just been released from the hospital after giving birth to their new son, Jimmy. She gets out only to discover that Bruno has sublet her seedy apartment for a few days.
Sonia finally locates Bruno. She chastises him for subletting her apartment, but she easily forgives him. Bruno, however, doesn’t seem to be too interested in their new baby. He’s clearly not quite ready for parenthood.
Desperate for money, Bruno sells Jimmy to a black market adoption ring. The devastating impact this has on Sonia, however, not to mention their relationship, causes Bruno to realize his immense error. He sets out to get the baby back, but, if he does, can Sonia ever forgive him?
L’ENFANT is a very slow, realistic drama. The movie picks up a bit in the second half, however, and manages to elicit some very emotional moments, especially near the end. The movie is mainly a character study of Bruno, and the personal transformation he undergoes. It is unclear until the end that Bruno will be able to turn around his life. It is clear before that, however, that Bruno is actually the child referred to in the title, not his son Jimmy.
There is also a powerful, harrowing scene where Bruno saves the life of one of the boys in his gang. That is followed by a positive scene in a police precinct and a powerful scene of forgiveness at a police detention center. These scenes are very well done and almost make up for the very slow pace of the rest of the movie.
Of course, the viewer’s sympathies lie with the baby in the story. Also, since Bruno eventually does the right thing in the end, the movie seems to have a light Christian worldview with some moral qualities. It leaves the viewer with a sense of hope that Bruno may be able to do his penance for his sins and overcome his aversion to work. Those are signs, of course, of true maturity, of growing from a child to a man. Were it not for a couple of “f” words, L’ENFANT might deserve a higher MOVIEGUIDE® rating than Extreme Caution.