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|Index||326 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The scene I remember the most is the laundry room. Here is the total
Kate, and not the blushing-lady of "Titanic". Here is the total
Patrick, and not the goofy pseudo-lover of "Phantom of the Opera". The
director has directed them to let out their most pent-up emotions,
still staying in character, and yet seeming to the viewers as if they
are the be-all and end-all of the other one's fantasies.
Second and most equally shocking as well as eye-opening are the confessions of Ronnie as well as his sojourn in the swimming pool. In the pool, he appears as the scary cartoon sea monster ("Beany and Cecil"?), almost laughable and funny perhaps as the one emerging from Loch Ness. When all the mothers and grandmothers stood along the side, all I could see were the hideous bathing suits, sagging bosoms and hideous cover-ups.
Ronnie's mother had some good lines about philosophies of life, as well as the need for Ronnie to find some female companionship. She tried very hard to show Ronnie that there were way too many women compared to the miniscule number of men in the singles columns, and that surely someone would appreciate what a fine person her son really was (not!). Still, all the perverts usually have a loving mother somewhere. Here, however, Ronnie lived with her, and it at least looked like she was able to teach him some basic rules about the world.
Todd Field's "Little Children", which was based on the acclaimed 2004
novel by Tom Perrotta, paints a harsh picture of suburbia located
somewhere between Sam Mende's "American Beauty" and David Lynch's "Blue
The film presents a place of emotional disconnection, whether it be from a spouse, a child, or oneself. In ways being an adult never looked as unglamorous and stifling as seen here what with the judgmental mothers who foist overly regimented lives upon themselves and their children and the sexually frustrated marriages of the two major characters.
There are a good number of seemingly disparate things happening on the screen and between the lines in "Little Children", all of which can be appropriately likened to the title itself and should be allowed their own analysis elsewhere on the site. What's important here is that "Little Children" overcomes many of the inadequacies of its many parts thereby creating a dark, haunting, romantic, moving, and highly engaging whole.
I think the movie Little Children is effective in showing a single mother named Sarah played by Kate Winslet is unhappy with life and feels trapped and lone who justs wants to be happy. Brad played Patrick Wilson seems also unhappily married to his wife Kathy played by Jennifer Connelly and justs wants to be happy as well. I also love the emotional crisis that the characters go through in the film like other parents being afraid of a child Pedofile named Ronnie and his mother May wants to just protect her son. It is sad when people can't always have what they want, but in the process the film also sees the flaws that the main characters have and improve upon them.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What happens when a woman who has too little and a man who has too much
meet? "Little Children" tells it.
A feared child molester (Jackie Earle Haley) has been acquitted from prison and it turns a little town upside down. At the same time a strong-headed housewife Sarah Pierce (Kate Winslet) and a home dad Brad Adamson (Patrick Wilson) start an affair. The setting is already upside down because in Brad's household he is at home with his little son when his wife makes a career and Sarah is nursing her daughter while her husband is working to bring the bread to the table. Sarah is tired of her stuck life and loveless marriage. Brad adores his beautiful wife (Jennifer Connelly) and their son but something seems to be missing. It is understanding. That both Sarah and Brad will receive from each other.
The subject is heavy and makes you think. Is anybody really any better human being than the rest of us? Can there be found some humanity in the worst pedophile? "Little Children" is smart and insightful. The outcome can seem to be horrible and even grotesque but we should think about more what we have than what we are longing for. Director Todd Field has made a good piece with thoughtful script.
The film is a drama, but it hardly touches the sensitive cords of drama until its final scenes, and evidently in the parallel episodes involving the lives of the supporting characters. The relationship between Sarah and Brad is not sensitive, and it lacks that dramatic vibe of "Madam Bovary's", which is consistently referred to in the movie. How come? Because the two of them are not really in love. Their summer fling is just a form of escapism for two people who feel trapped for various reasons. Taken separately, each of them has all the reasons to feel miserable about their lives and to earn our sympathy. Nevertheless, together, they both appear like absent-minded, insubstantial children trying to reinvent themselves and seeing each other as a projection of their own, egocentric needs. Each of them is no more than a momentary solution meant to reinforce the other's self-image. I personally didn't see a deep connection between the clandestine lovers, they simply reached a point of profound dissatisfaction with their lives and with the lesser roles they played in their relationships, so they avoided responsibility and threw themselves into the adolescent dream of the forbidden. I'm not a moralist, not one bit, but had I seen true love between two grown-up people, willing to give up their petty, loveless lives in order to be together, then the film would have had a clearly different tone and it would have inspired different feelings in its viewer. Their relationship with their spouses, mainly Kathy's reaction when suspecting Brad's affair, lack the depth and intensity that would have otherwise delivered some sense of emotional liberation from their mockery of marriage, which would have led to an open confrontation between the adulterous and the cheated, restoring the truth. However, Kathy does not have the initiative to bring up the subject and ask for some definite answers, she simply contents herself to calling her mother and thus preventing her husband from continuing his cheating, and this sheds light on the relationship of forces and on the moral values existent in her marriage. So, the story of the two couples and their derivations becomes a witty, pertinent story of mores, yet a bit shallow since their feelings of failure and uselessness is disregarded in favor of satire. But then again, this was exactly Todd Field's intention, to minimize the dramas of immature, self-absorbed people and to help them regain substance as they awaken in the end, confronted with the things that really are essential in their lives and finally able to cope with them, when Brad is injured after skate-boarding with high-school students, and Sarah finally sees her daughter as a real person who needs her love. As I mentioned before, the supporting characters gave me the impression that they were the ones who had the real issues. The performances of Jackie Earle Haley and Phyllis Somerville were truly heartbreaking, as their characters, and Haley gave a stunning performance as a sleazy, yet very conflicted man who could not escape his sexual compulsion even if he desperately wanted that. The scene when he was in the car with his date and couldn't help masturbating is pretty shocking, revolting and saddening at the same time. Larry Hedges, very well portrayed by Noah Emmerich, is another complex character who does all the wrong things in order to have a sense of adjustment. All in all, the movie is well-scripted, well-acted, providing a comic, incisive insight into the social suffocation and pretenses of life in the suburbs. I maintain my opinion that the supporting characters were the most substantial and moving in the whole picture.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I agree with the comments under "Be a good boy". I really liked this
film and want to add a few points.
"Little Children" is a drama with sad, at times comical moments and perversions. It is a cross between "American Beauty" and "Closer" -- and then some. With interesting narration, it is about dysfunctional, broken and unfortunately often real characters and relationships, with several stories unfolding in parallel.
It is full of interesting characters: an eerie sick pedophile who one somehow feels sorry for as he is at times like a kid himself (difficult role but very well-acted). A young handsome man who is a good father (married to Jennifer Connelly) but unambitious, and professionally and maritally a failure, who sometimes seems slow and acts like a child. Jennifer is a hard-working and dedicated mom. She looks almost anorexic but her beautiful face and green eyes are still a pleasure to look at. Kate Winslet (a mother married to a pervert) does a great job (and bares it all in a couple of good sex scenes. And a tormented ex-cup and bully who is not any better off than the pedophile, and needs serious help.
It is a real and brave film. It may be uncomfortable at times but it is engaging. 130 minutes flew by in no time for me! I highly recommend it.
This is a well-made film but the assumptions underlying it bug me no
end. Is this the only choice we have as parents whose marriage has
become an empty husk? To uphold Family Values and stay in a loveless,
empty, humiliating, indeed: dehumanizing marriage OR to, um: Betray our
Helpless Offspring by an Irresponsible Flight into Adolescent Fantasies
and the Great Unknown, leading to Certain Disaster? Tertium non datur?
Faced with that sort of marriage, I opted to quit. But not with Mr. Young Hunk Next Door. We went through a fairly civilized divorce and the kid and I now share a flat with another woman. Mutual respect, support and kindness have returned to the household. If pragmatism makes more sense to you than Mme Bovary, go see "Antonia's Line". It takes a village to raise a child.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Fueled by the mature themes of sexual hunger and personal depression,
"Little Children" includes more diverse adult characters than the
simplistic title would have one think.
Director Todd Field's latest film carries a cast of award-worthy actors including Kate Winslet, Patrick Wilson, and Jackie Earle Haley on a journey into the dark side of American Suburbia. Winslet's character, Sarah Pierce, is alienated from other older women in her community because of her relentless unhappiness in settling down with a husband and child. Likewise, Wilson's character, Brad Adamson, dreams of recapturing his youth through everyday activity while finding someone who will cheer on his personal ambitions.
Adamson and Pierce meet at a playground and form a friendship which develops into an affair. A community occurrence that bonds the two even more is the appearance of a recently released pedophile, Ronnie McGorvey, who is constantly antagonized by residents who never look to fully understand what type of a person he truly is. The audience realizes that Ronnie is nothing more than a child stuck in an older man's boy; child-like surroundings are not something that he desires sexually, but rather act as an environment for which he has a profound need.
Both Field and writer Tom Perrotta bring these characters to life through an exquisite screenplay that captures the innocence of Sarah and Brad's relationship and the emotional wreck that is McGorvey. Thomas Newman's score carries a dark and seemingly unsympathetic tone that stresses the undeniable craving that each person has for something more, be it a more active and normal relationship with the world around him or her.
The subtle irony that "Little Children" exposes so magnificently is the juvenile understanding of these supposedly well rounded adults. Much like two children who are forced to become friends on a playground because they know no other child there, Sarah and Brad are thrust into a relationship not out of a mutual love, but out of the fear that they are two individuals that are completely separated from the community around them. Todd Field's direction gives this film a visual clarity that allows the audience to fully take in the world that Sarah and Brad confront. One also realizes that their alienation is more of a personal one that has been established in their own minds; they are divided from others not because of dislike from a consensus, but rather, from a negative mentality common in children and teenagers. They believe that the entire world is against them, and yet, at the same time, embrace that belief.
Winslet and Wilson deliver strong performances as an adulterous couple, but the true scene-stealer is Earle Haley, whose child-like portrayal of Ronnie is disturbingly convincing and truly heart-breaking. Much like films such as "American Beauty," "Little Children" looks to expose the dark underlying needs in every person and does so brilliantly. With dramatic intensity and some perverse humor, this film is one of 2006's best.
Two unhappily married people--Sarah Pierce (Kate Winslet) and Brad
Adamson (Patrick Wilson)--start having an affair. Also involved in this
is a pedophile (Jackie Earle Haley) who was just released from jail and
is living in the neighborhood with a vindictive ex-cop (Noah Emmerich)
after him. Their lives all intersect and it all comes to a head on a
dark night. The ending is both hopeful and horrifying.
There's nothing really new here that I haven't seen before but it's all very well-done. There is an off screen narrator which seems strange at first but he explains things to us that help move the story along. This is over two hours and moves at a slow pace but it is needed to understand the characters and situations. Still things were pretty obviously cut from the final print. A whole subplot with Sarah's husband is bought up and then dumped completely. It's well-directed in a leisurely fashion that fits the tone of the film. In fact the first sex scene between Wilson and Winslet is explicit and funny but doesn't seem at all disturbing! The acting is excellent all around. Wilson, Winslet, Haley and Emmerich are all superb in their roles. Haley actually makes you feel sympathetic for his character Winslet and Haley were nominated for Academy Awards for their performances but the entire cast works on the same level. As I said some of the endings were predictable, but one ending I didn't see coming and it's downright shocking. A depressing but extremely well-done film. Worth catching.
This film is about a man and a woman who are both unhappy in their
respective marriages. There is also a sex offender in the
neighbourhood. They all have to resist temptations of varying sorts.
I am afraid I did not like "Little Children" so much. It appears that I was watching a film with two separate plots, one with Sarah and Brad, and the other with Ronnie. Sarah and Brad's story is the dominant story, occupying over half of the screen time. Their affection and confusion are well portrayed. Their relationship and their tension is told very well. Ronnie's story occupies rather little screen time, but is profoundly affecting. Jackie Earle Haley's performance is well worthy of the Oscar nomination.
Though both plots are captivating and well told individually, they seem disconnected and unrelated. Hence, the film loses focus. It would have been better if the filmmakers made two separate films, one about affairs and the other about the life of a sex offender. Then both these films would have been engaging and moving.
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