Little Children (2006)
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Review Date: January 05, 2007
Director: Todd Field
Writer: Todd Field, Tom Perrotta
Producers: Albert Berger, Todd Field, Ron Yerxa
Kate Winslet as Sarah
Patrick Wilson as Brad
Jennifer Connelly as Kathy
A wife/mother who doesn’t seem to be enjoying much of her life takes a walk on the wild side when she meets a husband/father at a playground and slowly but surely, gets closer and closer to the man and her own happiness. Of course, when husbands and wives and kids are involved, nothing comes easy, especially when you mix in a local pedophile, a man hell-bent on getting rid of said sex offender and plenty of soccer moms scowling at anyone who isn’t wearing “mom jeans”. Adult human drama ensues.
A wonderfully acted and subtly constructed movie that once more, displays the lovely brilliance that is Kate Winslet, but oddly enough, suddenly switches its focus to the film’s secondary story during its final half hour or so, which in my opinion, was an interesting plotline, but not nearly as engaging as the one focusing on Winslet and her man. In that same vein, the film felt a little longer than it needed to be (about 2 hours 10 minutes), which again, could have been alleviated with a trim in the film’s secondary plotline. I actually didn’t mind the stuff about the local pedophile, which could very well be one of the best examinations of such a deviant ever put to film (and if Jackie Earle Haley doesn’t get nominated for a Best Supporting Actor nod, I’ll eat my keyboard), but there was a little too much emphasis placed on Noah Emmerich’s character, who honestly, felt more like a device injected to manipulate the film’s otherwise genuine screenplay. But enough about the negative, as the film’s first hour could easily be put up there with anything from AMERICAN BEAUTY (ironically, Winslet is married to BEAUTY’s director Sam Mendes in real life), with a fascinating look behind the curtains of many so-called “happy marriages” and adult lives. I guess the one difference with this film is that its couples also have young children marinating in the mix, which obviously complicates matters of the heart that much more.

And even though I “get” the film’s title now, I still think something more poignant and to the point would have made more sense (instinctively, many people will think this movie is about children, when it’s not even close to that). Something like ANATOMY OF ADULTERY might have fit the bill better, but alas, it doesn’t look like the studio took audiences too much into consideration here, as its ending also left a little to be desired, after spending so much in-depth time with the lead characters (felt a little too cut and dry). The film isn’t an all-out drama though, and was a great watch on several levels, with precise writing, inventive direction and obviously, superb acting from the two actors already mentioned above, as well as many of the side-players like Jane Adams. Jennifer Connelly, on the other hand, felt more like she was appearing as a cameo in the film, particularly during its first hour, and ultimately, really didn’t contribute all that much to the picture, save for looking really really good! And speaking of looking good, Patrick Wilson also came through as the roving-eye husband, who much like others in the film, wasn’t really happy, despite appearances. In fact, many of the adults in this film seemed to have let themselves go after getting married, in more ways than one, and consequently, lost themselves in the process. I love the way the movie ultimately allowed each of the characters to find themselves, despite all of the bad stuff that they act upon (making mistakes is how one learns in life, right?).

Oh yeah, I also loved the narrator in the movie, who actually delivered some of its funnier lines, but in that great oh-so narrator voice. I actually kinda missed the guy when he disappeared for long stretches at a time. His voice made the whole thing feel like a documentary about the mating habits of fucked up adults at times. Good stuff. Finally, as if all of that human drama interlaced with humorous touches and great acting wasn’t enough, the film also features one of the best “fuck scenes” that I’ve seen in a long, long time. I say “fuck scene” and not “making love scene” because it wasn’t really making love, it was…well, fucking and a great fuck at that!! The lady at the receiving end of said steamy session of intercourse was none other than the aforementioned lovely Winslet, which in my mind -- as a somewhat perverted potent male viewer – made the film that much more appealing. Seriously though, this is a great movie that misses the mark a little, but provides plenty of drama, depth, entertainment value and questions to ponder. “Please be a good boy.” Heartbreaking.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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