Little Children [DVD]
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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.
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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the worst film I've ever watched there's no story line to it.Published 25 days ago by Amazon Customer