L'Enfant

Rated R 2006

The makers of this Belgian drama, about a 20-year-old hustler who sells his infant son like a bag of weed, have referred to it as a "love story," and so it is. As the film opens, we discover that Bruno (Jeremie Renier), a panhandler and petty thief, has traded his apartment for a hat and a jacket, leaving his girlfriend Sonia (Deborah François), fresh out of the maternity ward, clutching their wailing newborn and needing shelter. Spendthrift Dad does spring for a stroller at one point, but we sense that the grown enfant is being wheeled in some other direction. Indeed, he makes a deal to sell nine-day-old Jimmy on the black market for a wad of Euros, then appears genuinely surprised when Sonia doesn't buy his argument that they can simply make another baby to replace the one he's just hocked. As Bruno hustles to recover Jimmy, L'Enfant nudges its protagonist and its audience toward unlikely affection. No wonder the brothers call it a love story.

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