L'Enfant (film)

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L'Enfant film.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byJean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Written byJean-Pierre Dardenne
Luc Dardenne
Produced byJean-Pierre Dardenne
Luc Dardenne
Denis Freyd
StarringJérémie Renier
Déborah François
CinematographyAlain Marcoen
Edited byMarie-Hélène Dozo
Distributed bySony Pictures Classics
Release dates
  • 17 May 2005 (2005-05-17) (Cannes)
  • 14 September 2005 (2005-09-14) (Belgium)
Running time
91 minutes
Budget€3.6 million[1]
Box office$5.5 million[2]

L'Enfant (English: The Child) is a 2005 Belgian film directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, starring Jérémie Renier and Déborah François. The film was released under its French title in the US, and as The Child in the UK.

It received critical acclaim and won the Palme d'Or at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, among other accolades. In 2017, the film was named the fourteenth "Best Film of the 21st Century So Far" by The New York Times.[3]


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.



Critical response[edit]

L'Enfant received mostly positive reviews from critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives it an 86% approval rating, based on 106 reviews, with an average score of 7.5/10. The site's consensus reads, "The Dardennes continue to excel at presenting works of rigorous naturalism, with detached observations of authentic characters that nevertheless resonate with complex moral issues.".[4] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 87, based on 34 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[5]


L'Enfant won the Palme d'Or in 2005 Cannes Film Festival,[6] making directors Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne twice winners of the Palme d'Or, having won the award previously in 1999 with Rosetta.[7] The film received the André Cavens Award for Best Film by the Belgian Film Critics Association (UCC). It was also nominated for Best Film and Best Actor (for Jérémie Renier) at the European Film Awards.

The film was chosen as Belgium's official entry for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 78th Academy Awards,[8] but did not secure a nomination.

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Belgian Film Critics Association 2005 André Cavens Award Dardenne brothers Won [9]
Cannes Film Festival 11 – 22 May 2005 Palme d'Or Won [6]
César Awards 25 February 2006 Best Film Nominated [10]
Best Director Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Nominated
Most Promising Actress Deborah Francois Nominated
David di Donatello Awards 2006 Best European Film Dardenne brothers Nominated [11]
European Film Awards 2006 Best Film Dardenne brothers, Denis Freyd Nominated [12]
Best Actor Jérémie Renier Nominated
Gopo Awards 2007 Best European Film Dardenne brothers Nominated [13]
Guldbagge Awards 30 January 2006 Best Foreign Film Won [14]
Joseph Plateau Awards 7 March 2006 Best Film Won [15]
Best Director Won
Best Actor Jérémie Renier Won
Best Actress Déborah François Won
Lumières Awards 21 February 2006 Best French-Language Film Dardenne brothers Won [16]
Toronto Film Critics Association 19 December 2006 Best Foreign Language Film Won [17]
Best Director Won

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "L'ENFANT". JP's Box-Office. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  2. ^ "The Child". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  3. ^ Dargis, Manohla; Scott, A. O. "The 25 Best Films of the 21st Century...So Far". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  4. ^ "L'Enfant (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  5. ^ "L'Enfant (The Child)". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  6. ^ a b "L'Enfant". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  7. ^ "'L'Enfant' des frères Dardenne, Palme d'or d'un cinéma des marges". Le Monde. 21 May 2005. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  8. ^ "Foreign film barred from Oscars". BBC. 23 December 2005. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  9. ^ Madeline White. "L'enfant". Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  10. ^ Alison James (29 January 2006). "Cesar noms feeling 'Beat'". Variety.
  11. ^ "L'ENFANT". Academy of Italian Cinema. Archived from the original on 21 June 2017. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  12. ^ "L'ENFANT". European Film Academy. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  13. ^ "Nominalizari 2007" (in Romanian). Asociaţia pentru Promovarea Filmului Românesc. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  14. ^ "Bästa filmen 2006: 'Ninas resa'". Expressen. 30 January 2006. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  15. ^ "'L'Enfant' wint vijf Joseph Plateau Prijzen". De Tijd. 8 March 2006. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  16. ^ "Prix et nominations : Lumières de la presse étrangère 2006". AlloCiné. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  17. ^ "Past Award Winners". Toronto Film Critics Association. 29 May 2014. Retrieved 21 August 2021.

External links[edit]