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|Index||315 reviews in total|
Nothing sparks controversy like child-abuse. Even in Her Majesty's
prison service, the paedophile is considered the lowest of the low; the
dirge to all that is wrong with contemporary humanity. Where I live, in
the U.K., stories of sex-offenders moving in next door to schools are
common-place. The national press enjoys a good witch-hunt because it
echoes the voice of the people; a people who want to believe that the
natural order of good versus evil is balanced in favour of the
upstanding citizen. Little Children is therefore a brave movie; the
paedophile in question is presented as a human-being with issues - a
man who hates who he is and what he has done, yet knows that any form
of redemption will come via a tough private sacrifice. This film
teaches us that humanity can be recognised in even the most unlikely of
places, and none more profound that the sex-offender who loves his
Perhaps typical of American cinema, the bleakness of this film's ethos is played out against the backdrop of mundane suburbia; take a closer look and you might even see the odd picket-fence dotted around. Everyone seems to have a secret, a need for redemption - all except the paedophile, of course, who is absolved of such impossibility right up until the movie's climax. Winslet's character is presented as a justly tragic figure - the epitome of wrecked dreams and misplaced innocence. At times, when given the task of caring for her daughter, she appears almost incapable of accepting her responsibility; she never wanted these children, and was never meant to be a mother; it was yet one more stage in her descent into a tangled suburban nightmare.
The direction is tight, focused and thoughtful. There is rarely a dull moment, yet the sense of disquiet that the film produces is palpable. A fantastic piece of modern cinema.
Thanks for reading.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm not sure if it was just me, or if Little Children was just another
Happiness. Obviously, Children is much more graceful and poetic, as
well as simply being better than Happiness. Still, though, the plot and
character similarities are numerous: psycho-sexual disorder vs hyper
sexual behavior, indecent exposure vs child molester, child neglect,
spousal neglect, etc. Hell, even the young woman that the child
molester, Ronny, goes on a blind date with is in Happiness. I realize
that the styles are totally different, as Solondz is so satirical while
Fields is a little more sympathetic and caring. Still, the two just
seemed so much alike. Maybe I am comparing Full Metal Jacket and Saving
Private Ryan here. I don't know. Just a thought. Goodday.
long live Kubrick
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The story of a love that comes once in a lifetime, between a kind but ultimately sad young father trapped in a marriage where he fells he doesn't get the respect he needs, and an unsatisfied mother, and how both find so much more meaning in their lives as their relationship develops. Well-acted and written, this story about unhappy people and how their lives come together in a small, suburban neighborhood, with catastrophic consequences for all, is among the best films of 2006 and the revelation of actor Patrick Wilson. It's always nice to see something in the lines of Little Children once in a while: it benefits its cast with something magic to do, it creates opportunities for great performances and it needs a tight, believable script to work. Regarding this aspect, the material's love for the actors and the story about human, flaw-able people done in a realistic light, Little Children is right above there with other cinematic gems such as Million Dollar Baby,Boogie Nights, Babel and 21 Grams. Million Dollar Baby was Clint Eastwood's crowning achievement, his autumnal masterpiece, 21 Grams showed the talented actress Naomi Watts truly is, Burt Reynolds was never more charming and imposing than he was in Boogie Nights, and Little Children not only revealed the path for Patrick Wilson's career, but also consolidated Jennifer Connelly as one of this generation's finest actress, an actress who deserves to be mentioned on the same sentence with the likes of Naomi Watts.In a small part, actress Jane Adams, with very few minutes of screen time, provides the film's most moving part, as a disillusioned, mentally unstable and ill-fated girl, in a brief but powerful encounter with actor Jackie Haley. Although the movie is far from being about her, she is the one character that you fell the most sorry for. What a wonderful actress. So, to summarize, Little Children packs a punch for a solid drama, but for its darker material, it rises above other movies that deal with human relationships.
The dark secrets of suburban has been explored before in the media,
most notably in American Beauty and Desperate Housewives, but Little
Children stands as the best of the bunch by actually managing to create
a much more fascinating and realistic story. Todd Field, who previously
shined with his debut feature In the Bedroom, collaborates this time
with Little Children's author Tom Perrotta and they bring audiences a
gripping motion picture. The talents of the impressive ensemble cast
and the crew's technical achievements also make this adaptation a
fantastic companion piece to an already wonderfully written novel.
Kate Winslet plays Sarah Pierce, a bored housewife, who spends her days with her daughter at the playground with her annoying neighbours. Patrick Wilson is Brad, who is currently studying to try and pass the bar exam for the third time, but is continually distracted by a group of skate boarders on the way to the library. After Sarah and Brad share an innocent hug (and later kiss) in the park, they begin to see each other more often and soon begin a loving relationship. Meanwhile, a pedophile moves in with his mother after being put away for exposing himself to a minor. This launches a huge controversy in the town with the citizens worried about their child's safety. All of these plot threads lead to even darker series of events that spiral out of control for each important character. Just as the title itself suggests, they are all acting like "little children."
Tom Perrotta's Little Children has been splendidly adapted to film with the script by Perrotta and Todd Field allowing these characters to easily jump off the novel's pages. Field's direction also contributes a splendid job with allowing us to take in all of the scenes appearing on the screen. The performances from the actors also deserve much praise for making these people believable. Kate Winslet, as usual, gives yet another award-worthy performance. She gives all of the "desperate housewives" on ABC a run for their money. Patrick Wilson has been heavily overlooked this award's season, which is highly unfortunate, because he does a splendid job here in a performance that should be getting more attention than it has been. Will Lyman, meanwhile, gives a film a unique and sarcastic narration that may be off-putting at first, but is soon able to blend well with the literary style of the film. The haunting score by Thomas Newman and the wonderfully beautiful cinematography by Antonio Calvache also add to the brilliance of this film. Little Children is not a feature film for those who like action, but for those who like quiet moments that allow people to think about life.
This is one of the finest films of the year, and Kate Winslet deserves an Oscar for a brilliant performance. Excellent performances by the rest of the cast as well. Patrick Wilson and Noah Emmerich are particularly effective. An unusual film; as a previous commenter mentioned, it's strange to consider this as a feel-good movie when it deals with marital infidelity. There is a buildup leading to a surprising series of twists at the ending. The plot illustrates the growing trend in society toward trying to make it virtually impossible for a sex offender to regain any measure of freedom after serving a prison sentence.
Todd Field has directed a masterpiece of a chilling story of married
suburbanites in LITTLE CHILDREN and the character development, dialog
and writing is excellent from the first frame to the last. Kate Winslet
is simply outstanding in her role and you feel her hunger and pain for
a meaningful relationship from the very first scene. Patrick Wilson is
the "soul mate" of Kate's character and they both mirror his desire for
a life where he is respected for who he is, not the Lawyer he doesn't
want to be, which propels his story forward,along with Kate's own
needs. And Jennifer Connelly is quietly compelling as the wife, along
with a very strong supporting cast.
LITTLE CHILDREN has such a strong picture of American suburbia and the film reminds me of THE DREAM TUNNEL, by Michael P. Richards, of three couples who commute into San Francisco for the American dream, but then return to a world of suburban infidelity. And the other story of the male child molester thrown into the film adds to the tension of the couples struggle for happiness and meaningful lives.
In the coming weeks, I look forward to Todd Field and LITTLE CHILDREN receiving the kudos and accolades which this film deserves.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There is an element of Desperate Housewives about this. It has a running commentary on proceedings and one of the intersecting story lines concerns a group of housewives escaping their mundane daily lives by fantasising about a guy who they only know as the Prom King. But the full picture is so much more than that. Sarah(Kate Winslet) and Brad(Patrick Wilson) develop a sexual relationship both because of a physical attraction and (moreover) in a bid to escape an ambitious wife who puts her career first and their child before everything else and a husband addicted to getting off on internet porn rather than showing his wife some affection. Another storyline is that of a paedophile Ronald(Jackie Earle Healy) just released from prison and causing tension and controversy by living in the locality. Watch for the scene where he takes a swim in the local pool where children are swimming and the rush of parents evacuating them as the notice who's in amongst them. There's also a disgraced former police officer trying to salvage his reputation by setting up a committee to rid the neighbourhood of Ronald. As the film progressed, I found myself laughing, covering my face during the "cringe" moments(both funny and serious), feeling a little aroused(for obvious reasons) and feeling sadness, dislike and sympathy as each character's story progressed. It is a film to take you through a full range of feelings and emotions. I found myself having parallel feelings of liking certain people and disliking others and this remained pretty much constant throughout, until, towards the end when the film gave me reason to feel sympathetic in some way for each and every character. This balanced everything out nicely in the end for me. Some have suggested that the film is a little too long. But I disagree. The decisions taken ultimately by my favourites Brad and Sarah made me expect and want more from them after the efforts made to escape their (from their perspective)disappointing home lives. This was the only thing I felt was incomplete about the film. If you like adult drama go see this. If subtle, offbeat humour makes you laugh go see this. If illicit romance floats your boat go see this. If one plot isn't enough and you like to see all characters and story lines in a film developed to some sort of conclusion go see this. It may not bee the best film you'll see this year, but it is definitely worth a look.
Can I simply say that this was a great movie that NO one should miss?
Reading critics' and other viewers' comments both piqued my interest
and made me somewhat skeptical - after all everyone loved "Lost in
Translation" except me!
Anyway, moving on. Little Children is definitely different right from the start. It is unapologetic in trying to make us laugh out loud and stop short with tremendous sadness in the same scene!
No one is safe - there is NOT a single character in that movie that is a good person. The only close exception to it are Jennifer Connely's character and the old lady. However, interestingly enough, I found that both of their characters are shown to be strangely and intensely close to their sons. In Connely's instance this puts her at odds with her husband, in the second instance, it makes us wonder whether the son's "mental disorder" is due to his mom's overbearing nature! And is it only me, but is there hidden symbolism in the "Hummel" children figurines all over the mom's shelves - some with the most provocative poses!
Brad is extremely selfish and ungrateful, and just like Sarah is absolutely unaware of the treasures he has. Both Sarah and Brad are treading dangerous waters the whole film until their bold and absolutely thoughtless actions lead to near disaster.
Does it matter that they "discover" themselves and start appreciating others around them at the end? Well, not to me! The characters are so painfully cruel the whole film that at the end I had no sympathy for either of them. My heart only stopped because I thought those precious others will wound up getting really really hurt.
And that is why I loved this movie!
Go see it!
Little Children is a view of a small neighborhood through the social
And some of the microorganisms found in the neighborhood are: extra-marital affair, pedophile, homosexuality, clashes of the conservative and the modern thoughts. All this and more are found in the small neighborhood.
Director Todd Field explores extra-marital affairs again after his highly acclaimed debut In The Bedroom. Using Tom Perrotta's novel of the same title, the story shows that at the end of the day, the characters are behaving and having the mentality of a children, even though they are adults.
Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson plays Sarah and Brad, who are neighbors cum the couple under the limelight. Sarah had a unhappy marriage with her husband Richard, while Brad is a househusband, with his wife Kathy (Jennifer Connelly) as the breadwinner. They get to know each other in the neighborhood playground, which eventually ends up their frequent rendezvous with their kids in the public swimming pool. Their relationships has been in discreet, which slowly develops into sex in the laundry room.
What scares the neighborhood was the release of Ronnie (Jackie Early Haley), a pedophile that was just released from the prison. While he was trying to turn over a new leaf, the unforgiving parent support group was there to condemn him, and wants to drive him out of the neighborhood.
Little Children lives up its name of the title: Little Children. In the film, we could see that the characters are behaving like children: selfishness (from the couple in getting what they want), hostility and unforgiving (the neighborhood's attitude towards Ronnie), childish (for the hatred words on Ronnie's house) and experiencing something that he wants since he was a child (Brad was yearning to mixed around with the teenage skater boys).
Connelly's role of Kathy was a disadvantage to her. Being the supporting actress, her existence does not seems to matter in the story. Sarah, Brad and Ronnie, on the other hand, was the main focus on the film. Sarah and Brad are finding needs from each other, where they could not get the needs from their spouse. Ronnie wants to change, but the unforgiving society puts him down. Winslet and Haley has been given a great space to explore their role, which gives them an Oscar nomination for Best Actress and Supporting Actor respectively.
Field has improve greatly from In The Bedroom. Now the question is, would he make another film on extra-marital affair to make a complete trilogy?
When you have the sort of auspicious debut that director Todd Field had
with his fantastic first feature In the Bedroom, there is a big
anticipation to see whether the sophomore effort can bring the same
intensity. The trailer for Little Children definitely set an ominous
tone with its minimalist composition of frame, the sparse amount of
words, and the foreboding train sounds heard throughout. It was a great
tease, doing its job to spark interest while not giving too much away.
I had hoped to see the film in theatres, but unfortunately Buffalo has
not been graced with its appearance, as of yet. Maybe the Golden Globe
nomination will cause enough interest to bring a print to a Dipson near
you, I don't know. I will say, though, if it comes to town, run out and
see it. Little Children is not a perfect film; it is instead a mood
piece slowly building up to a boil until it finally breaches and flows
out at the end, engulfing everything in its wake.
Like many suburban tales of infidelity, this movie has all the generic ingredients. A father, that is trapped in a marriage where his wife's love for their child is driving them apart from each other, making a physical relationship an impossibility, eventually meets up with a mother, who yearns to be independent and takes her angerfor choosing to watch her child alone, thus negating any chance to be by herselfout on the child she should love unconditionally. You mix in the breadwinning spouses with their own quirks and idiosyncrasies, along with friends and neighbors heightened to the point of caricature, and we have the recipe for disaster. Through it all, however, lies the x-factor of a recently released from jail, child offender whose role in this play doesn't quite come to the surface until the powerful climax. His presence is at all times prevalent and yet pushed to the background enough so that the audience can watch each story thread separately from each other and allow the filmmakers to lead us on the path they have chosen.
Little Children is a deliberate and methodical piece of poetic narrative. Todd Field showed an immense restraint with his economical use of the camera in his debut film and seems to have gone even more minimal here. There is never a superfluous object in view throughout the film; each frame has been constructed with the utmost care to show us exactly what it is we need to know at that moment. When it seems about to cross the line into monotony, however, the engrossing characters on screen save it. Every actor brings their best to the table and carries the story in their actions. The juxtaposition of these real people with the overly stylized structure and background players helps bring the idea across that this is a storybook tale gone wrong. Patrick Wilson once again gives a pitch-perfect performance and adds to his flawless resume. He may do few movies compared to most, but he seems to have a knack for picking the best ones, see Hard Candy and Angels in America among others for example. Kate Winslet is wonderful as usual playing the emotional wreck of the story, a woman who never quite allows herself to be happy, and Jennifer Connelly gives a subtle performance as the wife whose controlling nature means well yet accomplishes the exact opposite of what she desires.
Field has put on film a very original telling of an almost contemporary fable. At every turn it is as if he is reading us a bedtime story to the point where it blatantly alludes itself to literature, closely mirroring the stories spoken of, including that of Oedipus and Madame Bovary. Our tale is even narrated, for its duration, by Will Lyman, yet never feels gimmicky. His voice leads us through the story as each frame is turned as though a page in a book. We don't, therefore, watch a natural progression of characters evolving due to their interactions with one another. The film has always had a beginning and an end; we are just sitting down to find out what happens along the way. In other words, the idea of cinema telling us a story is literally put to use. Like any good book, eventually drawing its reader into the very fibers of the paper, absolutely needing to see what happens to the protagonists next, Little Children envelops the viewer with the desire to find out whether any of the characters can ultimately be redeemed. The beauty of humanity is that we have the capacity to forgive and facilitate second chances. Nothing could help us understand this fact more than the powerfully raw performances of both Noah Emmerich and Jackie Earle Haley. These two carry the emotional core of this film on their shoulders and are the epitome of how not to allow a mistake to shape your life.
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