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 won the Palme d'Or at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. L'Enfant also received positive reviews from critics, and went on the win other honours. In 2017, the film was named the fourteenth "Best Film of the 21st Century So Far" by The New York Times.
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.
L'Enfant received mostly positive reviews from critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 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.". At 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".
L'Enfant won the Palme d'Or in 2005 Cannes Film Festival, making directors Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne twice winners of the Palme d'Or, having won the award previously in 1999 with Rosetta. 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.
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s)||Result||Ref(s)|
|Belgian Film Critics Association||2005||André Cavens Award||Dardenne brothers||Won|||
|Cannes Film Festival||11 – 22 May 2005||Palme d'Or||Won|||
|César Awards||25 February 2006||Best Film||Nominated|||
|Best Original Screenplay||Nominated|
|Most Promising Actress||Deborah Francois||Nominated|
|David di Donatello Awards||2006||Best European Film||Dardenne brothers||Nominated|||
|European Film Awards||2006||Best Film||Dardenne brothers, Denis Freyd||Nominated|||
|Best Actor||Jérémie Renier||Nominated|
|Gopo Awards||2007||Best European Film||Dardenne brothers||Nominated|||
|Guldbagge Awards||30 January 2006||Best Foreign Film||Won|||
|Joseph Plateau Awards||7 March 2006||Best Film||Won|||
|Best Actor||Jérémie Renier||Won|
|Best Actress||Déborah François||Won|
|Lumières Awards||21 February 2006||Best French-Language Film||Dardenne brothers||Won|||
|Toronto Film Critics Association||19 December 2006||Best Foreign Language Film||Won|||