Nominated for 3 Academy Awards including nominations for two if its stars Kate Winslet and the unforgettable Jackie Earle Haley as the films vilified and mentally unstable Ronnie, Field's film is one of those rare drama's where every single actor is on the top of their game with Winslet, Haley and in particular the often disappointing Patrick Wilson delivering what all could well be career best turns in their respective roles.
A large portion of Little Children's screentime is dedicated to the budding friendship/affair that starts up between Winslet's frustrated and angry housewife Sarah and Wilson's meandering stay at home dad Brad, as the two find solace in one another as their stalled lives come to a head and their community is overtaken with concern and outrage over the recent arrival of Haley's convicted criminal to their normally quiet and unassuming suburb.
Adapted for the screen alongside Little Children's novelist Tom Perrotta, Field's wastes no line of dialogue or no scene in his 130 minute expose of the ever present battle to be content and the desire to be loved and to love and it's not often film character's feel so alive and real as they do here in this film.
Winslet's Sarah is an intellectually smart and dedicated mother battling with a husband whose far from loyal in his own right, Wilson's lost soul like Brad has the trophy wife and beloved son but is seemingly lost with where he wants to get to in his life while Haley's Ronnie is an initially repulsive figure that somehow becomes something more as we grow to understand his true nature and the affliction he is battling with day to day while being surrounded by hatred of a world that lacks understanding for his condition.
Little Children is very far from an uplifting experience but with these true to life and often against the odds understandable creations at the forefront, Field's film becomes an experience that will become a poignant one for many and a reassurance that everyone, no matter their circumstances, is battling in the wars of life.
Final Say -
If you've never seen Little Children, this is well and truly a film worth tracking down and while its often confronting and unashamedly raw in its uncompromising views of everyday human life and the ups and downs of relationship's, Field's film is a movie of real power and quiet beauty that can comfortable sit alongside other similar classics like American Beauty, Blue Velvet and Magnolia.
4 ½ hastily evacuated pools out of 5