Living in an upper middle class family-oriented suburb, Sarah and Richard Pierce, who have an infant daughter Lucy, have a dysfunctional marriage. Sarah is already seen as a bit of an outsider amongst the park mothers, so news of the Pierces dysfunctional marriage would drive a further wedge between Sarah and the rest of the mothers, who espouse the white picket fence2.4 children mentality. Into the park comes househusband Brad Adamson and his infant son Aaron. Not knowing who he is or his story, the park mothers coin him The Prom King because of his preppy good looks. They collectively have a look but dont touch mentality toward Brad. Brad is struggling to find his place in life, having already failed the bar exam twice and avoiding his third attempt. He continually is looking for connections to his youth, when his life held so much promise. As such, he too is in a unsatisfying marriage to his beautiful and driven wife, Kathy, the household breadwinner. By chance, Sarah and Brad get to know each other, and are attracted to each other if only in their search for that something missing in their lives. The question becomes what they are to do with their feelings. In the meantime, sex offender Ronnie McGorvey, who was convicted for exposing himself to a child, moves into the neighborhood into the home of his mother, upon whom he has a pseudo-Oedipus complex. Ex-police officer Larry Hedges, an acquaintance of Brads, takes it upon himself as his primary goal in life to rid the perfect family neighborhood of this scourge.
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This is a worthwhile film in a lot of ways, but ultimately, it losesitself, completely. All films are a gaggle of threads these days thatcollide in some dramatic denouement. This film is an example of how theprocess can become nothing but device. It's literally as though theauthors forgot they had spent 2+h developing a story and characters.Ultimately, the ending is both unsatisfying, and disturbingly statusquo affirming.There are also some preposterous things in this film. We are meant tobelieve that Jennifer Connelly is 'beautiful' but Kate Winslet islesser? Sorry, that one does not come off. Kate Winslet is verybeautiful and Jennifer Connelly looks like a starved, pancaked upmannequin with bangs that belong on an 8 year old.
Director Todd Field's second feature film is one of the finest of 2006and a superb adaptation of the Tom Perrotta novel. Set in a suburb ofBoston, the film focuses on a handful of characters who all eventuallyinterconnect in unexpected ways. An engrossing exploration of adultbehaviour, sexual tension, isolation, prejudice, parenting and suburbanangst, Little Children is an incredibly provocative, unusual and honestmotion picture.Told by an omniscient narrator, the film charts the story of twounhappily married people, Sarah Pierce and Brad Adamson who begin asecretive affair out of a mutual longing for connection. Sarah is afrustrated intellectual who thinks of herself as an anthropologist dueto her exasperation towards the gossipy mothers in the neighbourhoodand does not much understand her needy daughter either. Her emotionallife is particularly stunted, as her husband Richard indulges inpornography while Sarah spends her days caring for her daughter, allthe while yearning for an alternative and wondering how she came to belike this at all.Brad is married to Kathy, a documentary maker who is more than a littleupset that she is the sole breadwinner and constantly urges Brad tostudy for the bar exam, which he has failed twice, though he spendsthat time observing teen skateboarders and yearning for his lost youth.Into their midst comes recently released sex offender Ronald McGorveywho initiates the community's feelings of anxiety, especially those ofex-cop Larry Hedges who begins a hate campaign against McGorvey as away of venting his own anger and loneliness.As the film progresses, we begin to understand that the title does notrefer to the children but to the adults who behave irresponsibly,recklessly and selfishly.Brad and Sarah's affair is a way of temporarily filling a void in theirlives created by their unsatisfying marriages.The film also portrays the heavy burden the children place on theirparents and how the parent's personal happiness is thus prevented.Little Children is admirably carried by the ever outstanding andfearless Kate Winslet, who gives a performance of such honesty, nuance,intelligence and transformation, inhabiting Sarah and registering everyrequisite emotion her character experiences, completely justifying herfifth Academy Award nomination.The fluid cinematography and melancholy score ensure that the film'ssuburbia is constantly suspended in a dream like state and the audienceis fully absorbed in this world of placid town pools, playgrounds,seemingly perfect families and expensive houses, but which ultimatelyprove a fragile facade to the dark struggles of its inhabitants, themarital and parental imperfection, the sharp paranoia.The equally excellent screenplay, which may bother some with its everchanging tone, is by turns acerbic, haunting, well-observed,heartbreaking, dark, uncomfortable and deeply satirical. The flaws liein the underwritten characters of Brad's wife and Sarah's husband, whois especially absent for much of the film. I also thought the filmcould have benefited from being slightly longer, in order to grant amore satisfying conclusion.Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Little Children and although I mostly sawit for being a huge Kate fan, it is totally recommended for those whoappreciate challenging film-making which reminds us of how quick we areto judge others and ourselves and ultimately how we are all littlechildren in the end.
Sarah Pierce: No, no, no. It's not the cheating. It's the hunger - thehunger for an alternative and the refusal to accept a life ofunhappiness. In what is easily on one of the very best films of 2006, Todd Field'sLittle Children digs deep into the world of suburbia and all it's dirtylittle secrets. Adapted very closely from Tom Perrota's exquisitenovel, the story follows a handful of different characters, the twocentral ones being Sarah (Kate Winslet) and Brad (Patrick Wilson).Sarah is a strong, intelligent, creative and independent woman, unlikethe other housewives/mothers in the neighborhood, and they despise herfor it. Sarah is a failed author with a Master's degree in literature,and always takes her three-year-old daughter to the neighborhood parkto play. One day, a hunky but not-so-bright Mr. Mom, Brad (PatrickWilson), comes to the park and all the moms get all gushy. The momsdare Sarah to get his phone number, and when she does, Sarah quicklybecomes buddies with Brad -- eventually leading to an illustriousaffair that takes place when their little children are napping. Bothindividuals are unhappy with their lives -- Sarah's neglectful andneurotic husband, Richard (Gregg Edeleman), is addicted to an internetporn icon, while Brad's PBS documentary filmmaker wife, Kathy (JenniferConnelly) keeps pressuring Brad to study so he can pass the Bar examand get his law degree. However, both of them seem to find theexcitement they hunger for within one another. Other supportingcharacter include Larry Hedges (Noah Emmerich), an aggressive ex-copwho befriends Brad, May McGovery (Phyllis Sommerville) a shut-in oldlady, and Ronnie McGobery (Jackie Earl Haley), her convicted pedophileson who just got released from prison into the neighborhood afterexposing himself to a little girl.Although very different from Field's previous film 'In the Bedroom','Little Children' is about equal in quality. Writer/Director, ToddField, has managed to avoid the curse of the sophomore slump andsucceeds in creating yet another near-perfect character study that bothintrigues and impresses. His directing has improved quite a bit fromhis last film, with an impressive scene involving Ronnie, the convictedsex offender, going into the public pool. The directing isn't quiteexcellent, but what Field lacks in directing he makes up for inwriting. The screenplay, which is perhaps the film's best feature, isone of the finest of year with startlingly realistic and intensedialogue. Todd Field is a lock for an Oscar nomination for hismagnificent screenplay, and has a decent shot of actually winning.The entire cast of 'Little Children' is nothing short of amazing. Everyperformance is brilliant in it's own way, and that is something you cansay about very few films. Leading the cast, Kate Winslet and PatrickWilson are exceptional in what are some of the best performances oftheir career. Wilson does a terrific job creating a multi-dimensionalcharacter out of the seemingly dumb Brad, while Winslet delivers aflawless and emotionally moving performance that is sure to get her yetanother Oscar nomination. Jennifer Connelly and Gregg Edleman are goodin their very limited roles, while Noah Emmerich and PhyllisSommerville shine in their meaty supporting roles. The real discoveryof the film, is Jackie Earl Haley as the convicted sex offender whoreturns home to be hated and feared by everyone in the neighborhood,especially children. The former child star, Haley, turns in agut-wrenching and painfully unsettling performance that should handsdown take the Best Supporting Actor Oscar at the Academy AwardsCeremony come February. What impressed me most about Haley's turn washis ability to make the audience feel sympathy and compassion for hislewd character. At times Haley is subtle and sweet, and at others hebecomes a disgusting monster, yet we never want anything bad to happento him. That's the way it is with all the characters. Little Childrenis a movie that adores it's characters and although they do some lessthan admirable things, we are always sympathetic towards them andsometimes even rooting for them.I strongly recommend this thought-provoking drama / awkwardly hilariousblack comedy to anyone looking for a well-made character study. LittleChildren doesn't have any big explosion, graphic violence or excessiveaction. It has only one special effect -- the effect it has on theaudience, and as this reviewer will tell you, it's a pretty damnprofound one. Grade: A
Writer/director Todd Field follows up his Academy Award nominated 2001film, In the Bedroom, with a much more accessible entry. Field's 2006Academy Award nominated film, Little Children, is magnetic Â a moviethat manages to be artistic and entertaining all at once. It's partdrama, part satire, and determined to have an impact.The film strikes an incredibly strange balance between the serious andthe surreal, by taking the familiar and by now cinematically worn outsubject of parents in unhappy marriages and marrying it with a wrynarration played is if it were lifted from a BBC Documentary on JaneGoodall. The narrator serves as a warm and sometimes funny guidethrough the lives of Sarah Pierce (Kate Winslet) and Brad Adamson(Patrick Wilson), two stay-at-home parents locked into an empty andunsatisfying routine of childcare in a haunting, tree-lined suburbiawhile their spouses live more interesting lives out in the work force.We meet Sarah in a park where she sits apart from the other nattering,empty-headed mothers and tells herself that she's not one of them.Little Children's view of full-time child- rearing is a bleak one. Foran ambitious and intelligent woman it's almost a death sentence, or atthe very least a big give-up. Sarah loves her daughter, but she alsoloved having a life. Now her life is her daughter and whoever orwhatever Sarah once was is gone, replaced by the word "mother". Thereal Sarah, long dead and buried by a pregnancy, is reawakened when shemeets Brad.Brad is the sexy, stay-at-home father from down the street, and thefantasy of the other mothers in Sarah's park. She meets him on a bet,and finds in Brad the intelligent, dissatisfied companion missingamongst the other blissfully dull, easily satisfied soccer moms. Asthese things often do, their relationship boils and builds intosomething torrid, and Sarah is left struggling to live a private lifeas a mother, and a private, socially unacceptable life where she'struly alive.Little Children works brilliantly as a mesmerizing character studyabout the way we judge others and ourselves. Field distills this thememasterfully throughout and braids the strangely sad, sometimesdisturbing story of Ronald James McGovery's (Jackie Earl Haley) re-assimilation back into a fearful, judgemental society, with the primarytale of Sarah and Brad's desperate suburban angst.The point here for Field isn't to demonstrate some urbane superiorityover the suburban milk and cookies set, but rather to provide a frankexamination of what's under that sticky, jam- encrusted surface. LittleChildren examines the sacrifices that must be made for parenthood andpicket-fence living, and holds them up to the harsh light of reality.It doesn't judge, instead it seems to be asking us not to judge and seeparents for what they are: Living, breathing, emotional beings withunfulfilled hopes, dreams and aspirations beyond whether or not to givetheir kid juice with breakfast.There are lessons to be learned in Todd Field's lush and beautifulfilm, and they're right there out in the open. Unlike other films ofits genre, it never talks down to its audience or layers its themeunder a thick viscous of snobby, art-house imagery. Little Childrenmixes plain authenticity with a sharp wit for a completely unique,quirky take on "playground politics."
This review is from: Little Children (DVD) Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson star as two neglected spouses, who begin a love affair after meeting in a neighborhood park. The little children of the title can be interpretted as either their small children--he has a son; she a daughter--or the childish behavior of the adults. Jennifer Connelly plays Wilson's wife whose preoccupation with her career drives him into Kate Winslet's arms. Jack Earle Haley plays a convicted sex offender who is hounded after his release from prison by a disgraced police officer, played by Noah Emmerich. Their lives all intersect one night in the neighborhood park with devastatingly emotional consequences. The suspense and tension build as this movie slowly moves toward an unexpected ending. Winslet and Haley received Oscar nominations for their performances. Will Lyman, who narrates most "Nova" and "Frontline" TV shows on PBS, lends his narration skills to this film, as well.
lol, I feel like that playground lady at the book club - maybe I didnot get this...(but then I did not Like Madame Bovary either...lol!!!)Good acting all around, nice cinematography, the atmosphere was tight,so 6 stars for that. Not a bad movie.But - what's the point? Sacrifice your life for your children? Okay. Ican live with that. Because other than that, the film leaves only Larrywho's come around (Ronny does not count, he's seriously disturbed).The book might be more giving, the voice-over was promising, a lyricallanguage with a bit of dry humour (or did I get that wrong and it wasto be taken seriously? Gee....:-)).Maybe it's too American, with all that moralistic tadah. Or maybe justtoo suburban...lol! People who aren't honest to each other are a dime adozen, but why watch that for two hours if there is not some kind ofsolution, or at least a different way to go than submission to fate...?So the two were just bored and dissatisfied? His wife wasn't tooperfect and controlling and selfish (with a monster mother-in-law), herhusband wasn't boring, inconsiderate and selfish? I dunno, there was alot missing...The editing was rather crass at times, the story lines not congruentenough in their configuration, I caught myself losing interest a coupleof times and towards the end the film completely lost me when it becameclear it would all come to nothing...our actions today become thefuture past we won't be able to change and then have to start overafter - so that last moral comes - as most do, I guess, a tad toolate... But I guess they have nothing to regret, so there. 2 hours ofordinary, everyday life anywhere in the world (except Larry and Ronnyof course (I hope!!!:-))).Okay.Now I'm gonna read all the raving reviews and come to appreciate thefilm more fully and will not be able to change having written thisreview but then it will enlighten me for future reviews...;-)))))
STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning** Sunday Night * Monday Morning Sarah (Kate Winslet) lives in her Massachusetts home and spends herdays as a wife to a businessman who visits explicit porno sites tofulfil his fantasies, raising her young daughter and trying to keep afriendship with three other suburban housewives who she's just not on alevel with. These women dare her to approach Brad (Patrick Wilson) ahandsome stranger with a young son in tow and get his phone number. Butthey get closer than expected and begin a passionate affair behindtheir partners backs. These same women also have some consternation inthe shape of Ronnie (Jackie Earle Haley) a convicted sex offenderliving in their midst. However by the end of the movie the lives ofthese three will collide together in a way they never imagined.I'd originally seen this advertised on the Black Dahlia DVD I rented.It had the look of a taut psychological thriller about it, but Idiscovered it was more of a drama type film. It still interested me andI was quite glad I had seen it. The film still manages a tense andintriguing atmosphere through-out, and never lets up on the dark andgrimy feel of the lives of the characters the film is portraying.Strong performances keep it going, but the strength of the charactersis what really makes the film so engrossing.The film's trying to be clever, using a format that's been used beforeby telling multiple stories and having them all collide together at theend. This rests uneasily with the film's deeper psychological angletrying to get beneath the character's surface and it gets a bit toolost in the drama aspect which meanders on aimlessly, making it a bitboring by the end. The Bill Cosby style voice-overs also feel a triflemisplaced. But it's still a rewarding and fulfilling film that you'llcome away pleased with. ****
(Todd Field, 2006) One I've been wanting to see but avoiding. Again,bad decision. Todd Field has the spirit of Kubrick in him (Field, as anactor, worked on "Eyes Wide Shut" and Kubrick subjected him to "thedrill" about his first film, "In the Bedroom"--"Why do you want to makethat? What can you bring to it? How can you tell your story morecompellingly? Is it worth doing, though?")--but Field, is a differentdirector, with a different sense of humor, though it was missing in"Bedroom." That razor-like humor helps in this story of a neighborhoodnot coping well with a convicted sex offender in their midst (he's aflasher). Everyone is on the critical edge of everyday panic and withan aversion to complacency, so everyone seems determined to see how farthey can push the envelope before things come crashing around theirears. There is an air of clinical observation to the film that is crueland humorous, though, for the characters portrayed, everything is ofdeadly earnest and has complex consequences. And its use of Will Lymanis brilliant. Uniformly the cast is excellent with Kate Winslet,Patrick Wilson (he had the least showy role in HBO's "Angels inAmerica" as the closeted conservative), Jennifer Connelly (restrainedand never better), and particularly Jackie Earle Haley as the flasher.Absent from movies for years, Haley now has a cadaverous look like he'sbeing consumed from the inside, and his beady-eyed pressurized workkeeps you on pins and needles. He and Winslet received the lion's shareof accolades at awards-time last year, but the film itself should havereceived more attention...certainly more than "The Departed" did. ToddField is a guy to watch.
This review is from: Little Children (Amazon Instant Video) Unfortunately not at all a good movie with poor dialog, no spice or chemistry between the characters.I like Kate as an actress but this role should not be part of her career.Very disappointed for the time wasted overall
Another day, another 'Suburban' Â my name for psychodramas about middleclass folks in the 'burbs that are produced in an the endless flowsuggesting, rightly no doubt, that American film watchers' appetite forsuch fare is well nigh insatiable. The premise in this one, tipped byit's title, is that much of the time, the adults act like irresponsiblekids, while the kids themselves soldier on, displaying varying degreesof compensatory maturity - we call it 'enabling' in the substance abusetrade - to help keep their family ships on course, or at least afloat.Richard Linklater's "SubUrbia" (1996), Ang Lee's "The Ice Storm" (1997)Sam Mendes's "American Beauty" (1999), Rose Troche's "The Safety ofObjects" (2001) and this past summer's hit, "Little Miss Sunshine,"typify the genre, each capturing variations on the same general themesof adult lunacy and their kids' struggles to cobble together a rationallife in the face of family dysfunction.Community poolside romance threatens to break up two families (PatrickWilson and Jennifer Connelly are one couple, Greg Edelman and KateWinslet the other). A harsh subplot concerning a convicted pedophile(Jackie Earle Haley) who returns to the neighborhood to live with hismother (Phyllis Somerville) threatens to steal the show, andmore-or-less succeeds. My grades: 7/10, B (Seen on 11/19/06)
It's always awkward when a novel you love is adapted into a film. Butwriter Tom Perrotta worked on the screenplay for Little Children withdirector Todd Field, and so you would imagine that the film would betrue to his vision and sensibility. But somehow it isn't. His book iswarmer and funnier than Field's chilly, ironic film. Does this suggestthat Field has his own, surprisingly strong voice as a director? Thetone here is reminiscent of that in his debut, In the Bedroom. Excepthere he is obviously more confident, not afraid to veer his story offon long tangents as his narrator describes the interior lives ofsupporting characters. Stylistically, too, he is braver, his film fullof arresting compositions and extended tracking shots. The setting and subject are familiar from many American films -suburbia and its dark side. A recently released sex offender returns tolive with his mother in the same neighborhood where two bored andfrustrated stay-at-home parents begin a passionate affair. From this, astrangely epic but intimate study of character and society isfashioned.Field is more careful and precise than other directors have been withsimilar material. He is obviously a big disciple of Stanley Kubrick(for whom he acted in Eyes wide Shut), and his style and voice owe agreat deal to Kubrick's mature mode. The cold eye cast upon all of hischaracters is entirely Kubrickian, and means that the comedy of thenovel is squeezed into an altogether darker, more tragic place. Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson play the lovers, and both give greatperformances, Winslet perhaps better than she has ever been before.Their work means that the characters have a depth uncommon even in themost serious of contemporary cinematic drama - they arethree-dimensional, not always likable, but always believable. Bothcharacters are immature - the title refers to more than just theiractual offspring. The love story element then becomes moving, and ismatched by the darker story of the sex-offender and his mother. Field has become, in the space of two films, an interesting anddistinctive voice in American cinema and it will be fascinating to seewhere his career goes from here. The earnestness of both his filmssuggests he could become a Richard Brooks figure, always searching forthe next "important" book to adapt, but there is an intelligence andcraft in those films that promises he is capable of much more.
Out of all the "Oscar Bait" films I've seen this year, this film beatsthem all. Little Children is an unbelievable masterpiece about what itmeans to grow up. This idea is brilliantly portrayed through characters- while categorized as "adults" - have yet to outgrow certainadolescent stages.Brad is a man who never got the chance to experience the spotlight inhis youth, and now he desperately craves attention, acknowledgment, oradmiration in any form.Sarah is a woman who never learned how to grow past her ownselfishness. She is angry at her daughter for needing attention whenall Sarah wants is some time to herself.Larry is a man who still harbors bully-like tendencies, and desperatelyjust wants to fit in and be one of the guys. This is seen through histreatment of Ronnie - the pedophile who was just released from prisonand returned to the neighborhood.Ronnie is the dangerous man. The man who cannot connect with people hisown age and seeks sexual gratification with children or with people who- like him - cannot fit into the adult world.This isn't an action moving - it's an interaction movie. The scenesbetween characters have you nailed to your seat and deeply invested.The characters interact within their small community, and their actionswith each other build into a climatic explosion that forces them all toface truths about themselves, and - finally - accept theirresponsibilities as mothers, husbands, fathers, and humans. Thisaccepting is what separates little children from adults, immature frommature.The tale is moving, sad, hilarious, dark, breathtaking,thought-provoking and many other creative adjectives. It forces you toreevaluate your idea of yourself and your thoughts on others. It forcesyou to see people you would normally loath and dismiss in a differentlylight. This a movie you will come out of changed. If you only see onefilm a higher, I cannot recommend this one more.
With all the rave reviews from the critics, this was a trulydisappointing movie. The plot was predictable, confusing, and hard toswallow. The characters are shallow and by the time the end rollsaround, we are not really caring about them or what happens. Much ofthe sexual content was gratuitous. Trying to make an unsympatheticcharacter sympathetic didn't work.Better to rent Bambi again and enjoy some real entertainment. I don'tremember this movie hitting it "big" in the theaters, and no wonder.Who wants to sit in the dark watching people j-off in panavision? Itbordered on obscene, and it surprised me that the movie was "R" rated.I'll bet the ratings board had this one as borderline NC-17.
I had watched Â and been sufficiently impressed with Â this director'sacclaimed previous film, IN THE BEDROOM (2001); the follow-up effortproves to be altogether more accomplished. Again, we're treated to avariety of suburban neuroses Â which I can't help feeling some of thecharacters bring upon themselves (more on this later).Anyway, the director has the temerity to stretch the melodramaticproceedings Â essentially revolving around three interweaving plotthreads Â to a hefty 137 minutes. That it doesn't collapse under itsown weight is due to a perceptive script (compounded by pointednarration) and excellent performances; the actors generally manage tosteer clear of hysterics (which only really come into play towards theend). Both the talent and beauty of leading ladies Kate Winslet andJennifer Connelly is on display here Â though the latter's role israther small and colorless. I'm not familiar with either of the actorsplaying their characters' respective husbands Â in this case, it'sWinslet's husband who fares the worst (as he's inexplicably absentthroughout most of the film, except when the director needs to harp onhis particular mania!). Jackie Earle Haley is effectively understatedin a difficult role as a convicted paedophile; he obviously incurs thewrath of the neighborhood which is full of kids Â and is hounded by anex-security officer who, as it happens, had been disgraced himselfafter accidentally shooting and killing a child! As I said, the director makes it hard for the audience to empathizewith anyone (despite paralleling Winslet's character with one of themost famous tragic heroines of literature, Madame Bovary) because thepeople concerned can hardly help themselves. The two couples don'treally do anything to save their respective marriage but, in the end,the straying partners Â no doubt burdened by the presence of a child ineach of their lives Â seem uncommitted towards taking that decisivestep to freedom. Connelly and her husband manage to remain togetherafter a stupid skateboarding accident, but things seem less certain inWinslet's vapid household. As for Haley, every time he manages to moveus by his predicament (a combination of 'sensitive soul' and 'mama'sboy') is then offset by some needlessly punishing exhibition Â theincident at the pool, the way he ruins his one chance at a date, andthe inevitable final act.Well-made and acted, therefore, but essentially contrived Â and, likethe director's previous outing, the film doesn't lend itself easily torewatchability in view of its subject matter (not so much thecontroversial issues as the soap-opera elements) and considerablelength...
This film is nearly perfect for me. Every year I find a really terrific character film I really enjoy. In the past few years it has been Little Miss Sunshine, Monster's Ball, Monster and Boy's Don't Cry. Little Children has been added to this list. A terrific story of modern suburbea which has a number of unhappy people for a variety of reasons. A sex offender wonderfully played by Haley(remember him from the Bad News Bears?) is released from jail and returns home to his mom. The parents of the neighborhood are nervous and upset. But that is just one layer of the story, as you have the unhappy couple cheating on their spouses, and a ex-cop still dealing with issues of guilt over something in his past. This story builds nicely and I was very satisfied. This is a terrific film.
[Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon.]The way director Todd Field handles human sexuality in this movie reminds me a bit of the way Todd Solondz handled it in Happiness (1998). There are the same starkly realistic depictions of a variety of human desires, lusts and cravings with perhaps an emphasis on what devotees of the missionary position might call "perversions." Although not quite as wild as Solondz's film, Little Children is equally challenging to politically correct notions of sexuality.Kate Winslet stars as Sarah Pierce, a suburban mom who has a Master's in English lit and a husband who finds sex in cyber space more satisfying than sex with her. She joins (at a slight distance) some other more conventional suburban moms at the local playground where they sit around and talk while watching their children play. One of the things the women talk about is Brad Adamson (Patrick Wilson), who is a handsome stay at home dad who has twice fluked the bar exam. He takes care of his son while his high powered wife Kathy (Jennifer Connelly) is busy bringing home the bacon. The women don't talk to him. They watch him warily but with keen interest and call him "the prom king." When Sarah catches her husband having sex with his computer (so to speak) she resolves to gain the Prom King for herself, partly out of sheer romantic lust and partly out of revenge.While we watch the adulterous union unfold, we are given some perspective in the form of Ronnie J. McGorvey (played with appropriate creepiness by Jackie Earle Haley) who has just been released from prison after serving a term for exposing himself to children. A side complication arrives in the form of Larry Hedges (Noah Emmerich), who is a "retired" cop with a temper management problem and a tendency to find objects of hate onto which to direct his anger. Ronnie the pervert becomes his target.All this seems...well, unremarkable and even tiresome except for the fact that everybody in the movie is flawed in some very serious and interesting way, and director Field's interpretation of the characters comes down resolutely on the side of the nonconventional. In some respects what Field and Tom Perrotta, who wrote the novel from which he and Field adapted the screenplay, are saying is that the characters are all little children (hence the title). And not only that, but we're all a bit perverse. It just depends on your point of view. Sarah's parenting skills are less than optimal and it's obvious that she is bored with being a stay at home mom. Her "perversion" is similar to Gustav Flaubert's Madame Bovary in that she wants more out of life than being a wife and mother. She wants, as she explains to the woman's book club, what Madame Bovary wanted, to satisfy "the hunger - the hunger for an alternative and the refusal to accept a life of unhappiness."Brad wants to remain a child, being taken care of by his wife, while he pretends to study for the bar exam but instead plays touch football and watches the boys at the skateboard park as though a boy himself, or allows himself to be seduced by Sarah.Ronnie wants to have sex with little girls, and Sarah's husband wants to have sex with a porn star--or perhaps they just want to masturbate to fantasies of same...and so on.What nonetheless makes this an excellent movie is first of all Kate Winslet who continues to prove she can play a wide variety of characters and get into their skin and become them as she has done in so many films. She brings the nuances of Sarah Pierce's character, her strengths and weaknesses, to life in a vivid and compelling way that forces us to identify with her, much the same way we identify with Madame Bovary.Also first rate is the unflinching way human sexuality is presented and the refusal to accept conventionality that is the heart of this story. I think that directors Todd Field and Todd Solondz may be working in a new genre for the 21st century that might be called "sexual realism." Perhaps it is just a coincidence but both directors had Jane Adams play a kind of forlorn wallflower at the game of life in both movies. Perhaps she symbolizes in some strange way the confused, frustrated and deeply masked phenomenon that is human sexuality.The real essence of the film is contained in the scene in which Ronnie enters the pool with all the children playing in it and the moms in the lounge chairs watching. Suddenly Sarah becomes aware that Ronnie the pervert is in the pool and then all the other moms become aware. There is a mass hysteria and a mass exit from the pool by the children. The moms are horrified and are desperate to know, "Did he touch you?" Ronnie is seen as some kind of bug-like creature who somehow will bring a contagion upon them through his touch. The point here and indeed throughout the film (and also in Solondz's film) is that we overreact to sex that offends us. We find the touch of a creepy pedophile worse than some kind of physical violence.This is a thesis that will not find acceptance in America for many years to come if ever because sexual perversity is more threatening to most Americans than extreme violence. Why this should be so is not really a mystery. But to explain it here is beyond the scope of this review, and anyway explaining it would hardly change it. However the fact that Field and Solandz are bringing it to our attention is something new and is perhaps the beginning of a challenge to conventional morality.
This movie is an example of what I go to the movies for. I disagreewith those who disdain the ending - the ending was great it resolvednicely, with surprises and redemption, but with the one exception ofthe ex-cop character's change which the cynic in me isn't so sureabout, but it was still an excellent ending, and beginning in middle. Ifound myself turned on, afraid for the characters, feeling empathy forall of them, except for the twisted pervert, though he was far fromcartoonish. If you co to the movies to look at life - your own andothers - and to leave the theater feeling like you've had a good andmemorable meal (in contrast to, say, X-Men 3, which was like candy -okay in the moment but after that, so what) then go to this. Especiallyif you are, have been, or will be married, or are an adult who has beenin relationships.
this movie have a excellent director Todd Field who made "in thebedroom" a movie that was nominated to the Oscar's. the actors who haveOscar's experience about nominations Kate Winslet have an excellentrole in this movie i want that she win the Oscar this year for thismovie that she was excellent and Patrick Wilson too because i saw himin "the phantom of the opera" but i don't enjoy that movie this is hisbest role ever, i don't get why he isn't nominated for the Oscar.Jennifer Conelly she is a had win an Oscar for "a beautiful mind" shewin an Oscar for this movie but i don't understand too why she isn'tnominated. i love the children's of the movie they were very nice ilove that little girl not like Ronnie J. McGorvey who have an excellentrole that make me to hate him for the things he do. i love the trailerof the movie i see the movie because i like the trailer it looksamazing the part when the two trains will crash. i recommend this movieso much please see this movie i hope that young kids don't see thismovie because have strong sexuality and nudity and its kind ofdisturbing for young kids or teenagers. and please don't cheat yourpartner like in this movie.
Personally, I found this to be the best American film of 2006. Mr. Field has crafted his 2nd Masterpiece. A brilliant expose of postmodern irresponsibility & suburbanite dysfunction. In my mind, Field is one of the more interesting & mature American writer / director's working today, I'm excited to see what he chooses tackles next. There is something about his narratives that are both familiar and unsettling, and as with all great dramatic films his stay with you long after the viewing experience.
I personally found this movie very prolonged and dragging, in a storyline that I had figured out way to early into the movie. I felt likejust when I was about to doze off, something happened to keep meinterested enough not to fall asleep. I actually considered leaving thetheater at one point but I didn't want to waste the money.It starts with a narrator, he disappears for awhile, says a couplethings mid movie and is gone without ever really completing his job. Iguess I feel a little guilty being this harsh on the movie but Ihonestly think it was bad and predictable. In the end, if this moviewas on TV, I would have changed the channel.