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Little Children [DVD]

3.6 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Kate Winslet, Patrick Wilson, Jennifer Connelly, Gregg Edelman, Sadie Goldstein
  • Directors: Todd Field
  • Producers: Todd Field, Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Eiv
  • DVD Release Date: 14 May 2007
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MQCBOK
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,250 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Todd Field directs this ensemble drama based on the novel by Tom Perrotta. Kate Winslet stars as Sarah, an educated young suburban mother frustrated with her narrow existence, who forges a friendship with local husband and father Brad (Patrick Wilson). Both share a discontentment with life in their small commuter town, and a lack of connection with their spouses: Sarah's uncomfortable marriage to the successful Richard (Gregg Edelman) parallels Brad's frustration with his aspirational documentary maker wife, Kathy (Jennifer Connelly), and it isn't long before their friendship develops into a more complex entanglement. Meanwhile, the community is shaken by the discovery that a convicted sex offender (Jackie Earle Haley) is living in its midst.

From Amazon.co.uk

Kate Winslet operates at a galaxy-class level in Little Children, Todd Field's gratifyingly grown-up look at unhappy suburbia. Winslet is magnificent, in an Oscar-nominated performance, as a stroller-pushing mother who becomes attracted to a passive househusband (Patrick Wilson). Their slow-burning infidelity (Field wisely allows time to pass in this unhurried film) is contrasted with a more sensational subplot, about a convicted pedophile (Jackie Earle Haley, also Oscar nominated) returning to the neighborhood to live with his mother (Phyllis Somerville). Field, who brought his civilized approach to In the Bedroom, uses a deliberately literary style here, including a device with a narrator who sounds as though he's sitting at our side as he reads from Tom Perotta's novel. (The narrator is a superb touch--his cultivated voice distances us from the sloppy passions of the characters.) The film's biggest miscalculation is a self-appointed neighborhood vigilante (Noah Emmerich) determined to make life miserable for the paedophile. But Wilson is appropriately nebulous, Jennifer Connelly solid as his wife, and Haley (child star of the Bad News Bears movies), as the creepy, childlike molester, found himself rediscovered after a long career layoff. There's decent acting here, but Winslet is in a zone of her own, with so much emotional honesty and subtlety of expression that she transforms a good movie into a must-see. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dennis Littrell TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 April 2009
Format: DVD
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.
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Format: DVD
This isn't a bad film at all - in fact it has moments of genius. But ultimately Little Children yearns to be something it isn't. The source novel by Tom Perrotta is great in a breezy, colloquial way, with occasional moments of real insight that strike home all the harder for being less expected. Todd Field's cinematic take on it, however, has pretensions all of its own. Once in a while I'll watch a film that could really use a voice-over (The Handmaid's Tale for instance) because there's simply no other way of getting across the true beauty or the impact of the original novel. But in the case of Little Children the booming narrator is basically just an affectation. Something to give it an artier edge, maybe, a quirkiness or a gravitas that Field thought the film might otherwise be lacking? Gimmicks like these are a popular technique when the story alone isn't quite cohesive enough. Whereas the novel segues smoothly from inside the mind of one character to another this is less well achieved on screen, and it does seem bitty occasionally. Not to mention long-winded. The film really plods sometimes, whereas the novel moves at a cracking pace for the most part. And Todd Field is the DH Lawrence of the film world - a man without a humorous bone in his body. Little Children has 'take me seriously' emblazoned across it in neon sky-high letters. Yawn.

As for the cast, Patrick Wilson is kind of good as the bewildered-looking former jock led astray by boredom and testosterone. Kate Winslet is the one everyone raves about, but there's something annoyingly mannered about her performance, including that smooth American drawl perfected to within an inch of its life. She definitely looks less ravishing than usual, but physically she and Wilson aren't quite as mismatched as they're meant to be.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a movie which I would recommend to anyone. despite its flaws, adequately enumerated by other reviewers here, the message(s) of the movie are unusual and the whole so well acted, particularly by Ms Winslet, that this is really a must-see. It is very unusual to show the life of a paedophile in such detail and the point here, in relation to all the main characters, is that it is appropriate to have empathy, sympathy even, for anyone - i.e. there's something worthwhile in all. Also, regarding the title, it struck me afterwards that the writer was postulating that none of us is really mature - each of the key characters take decisions/actions at some point here that are not those of so-called mature sensible grown-ups, but which are plausible nonetheless. A difficult to categorise movie because of the various plots and the occasional disturbing scenes (the paedophile on his date was particularly tragic), but one that is ultimately a rewarding and enjoyable watch, despite the slow pace.
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Format: DVD
This film explores the hidden lives of surburbia in a similar way that American Beauty did before it, only from a more broader perspective - both in terms of protagonists and also, perhaps, the social context. Characters are well constructed and the storyline credible. In essence, the film is a dig as life in the suburbs - extra-marital affairs, pressure to do well in work, set against the fear of paedophilia / child abduction (hence the film's name). The film's title is also probably referential not only to the children who are being so vehemently watched under the threat of a known child molester living in the vicinity, but also in the naivity of their own hopes and dreams, which are in reality, only short-lived whims. So we go on to see, that despite the thrill of the notion of change, in surburbia, plus ca change. Well acted, well shot, this film isn't predictable right to the end, making it a compelling watch. Worth the investment of your time to see.
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