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Plot: The lives of two lovelorn spouses from separate marriages, a registered sex offender, and a disgraced ex-police officer intersect as they struggle to resist their vulnerabilities and temptations in suburban Massachusetts. Runtime: 136 mins Release Date: 06 Oct 2006
Out of all the "Oscar Bait" films I've seen this year, this film beats them all. Little Children is an unbelievable masterpiece about what it means to grow up. This idea is brilliantly portrayed through characters - while categorized as "adults" - have yet to outgrow certain adolescent stages.Brad is a man who never got the chance to experience the spotlight in his youth, and now he desperately craves attention, acknowledgment, or admiration in any form.Sarah is a woman who never learned how to grow past her own selfishness. She is angry at her daughter for needing <more>
attention when all Sarah wants is some time to herself.Larry is a man who still harbors bully-like tendencies, and desperately just wants to fit in and be one of the guys. This is seen through his treatment of Ronnie - the pedophile who was just released from prison and returned to the neighborhood.Ronnie is the dangerous man. The man who cannot connect with people his own age and seeks sexual gratification with children or with people who - like him - cannot fit into the adult world.This isn't an action moving - it's an interaction movie. The scenes between characters have you nailed to your seat and deeply invested. The characters interact within their small community, and their actions with each other build into a climatic explosion that forces them all to face truths about themselves, and - finally - accept their responsibilities as mothers, husbands, fathers, and humans. This accepting is what separates little children from adults, immature from mature.The tale is moving, sad, hilarious, dark, breathtaking, thought-provoking and many other creative adjectives. It forces you to reevaluate your idea of yourself and your thoughts on others. It forces you to see people you would normally loath and dismiss in a differently light. This a movie you will come out of changed. If you only see one film a higher, I cannot recommend this one more.
Director Todd Field satirizes western society and exposes our fundamental flaw as a society. We are a country of self-righteous hypocrites who band together to crush evil wherever it may be found but overlook our own weaknesses.The story on one level is exceedingly banal: it shifts from scene to scene exposing the triviality of day to day life. Yet there is that haunting sound of an approaching train. Are we witnessing a train wreck? The brilliant use of a narrator lulls us into the belief that this is just a children's story and nothing bad will happen. Yet our eyes are glued to the <more>
screen as we await the crash.Jackie Earle Haley as Ronnie exposes everything that is wrong with our modern world and everything that is right about character acting. He gives a stand out performance definitely worthy of Oscar consideration. The character represents an unknown evil in our community, one that must be sought out and destroyed. His character at times is sympathetic, even lovable and other other times hideous and menacing.But who is more detestable? Is it Ronnie or is it those infinitely boring but beautiful adulterers, Sarah Kate Winslet or Brad Patrick Wilson ? Is it up to us to judge? If we do, are we not being like the suburban community that is the metaphor for our society? In that way, Director Todd Fields includes us in the movie whether we know it or not. This is a wonderful train ride that will keep us talking for days. It is one of this year's great movies.
Just remarkable, because it goes in split second from laughter to deep tragic shock without affecting the credibility of the story, back and forth.Every actor has been brilliantly directed and it is a gallery of portrays, not just two actors leading the story. I found myself so affected by it because of the sheer unpredictable storyline going to predictable then going back to the unknown.You will watch how people whirl themselves into their own actions and then try to find a way out of these consequences. Then they free themselves at times, to trap themselves next. Absolutely brilliant, with <more>
an array of emotions succeeding to one another.Visually sumptuous. People stayed in the theater and talked about it.Looking back, you feel afterward how much love and dedication from director, crew and actors went into it. Just a stunning, beautiful movie.
Fine sexual drama with a small uncertainty of tone (by Chris Knipp)
Todd Field's Little Children's screenplay was written in collaboration with Tom Perrotta, on whose eponymous novel it's based. Perrotta wrote Election's, Bad Haircut's, and Joe College's funny, ironic screenplays before this. But though mildly satirical at times in its vision of middle-class white infidelity, this second film at last from the director of the powerful 2000 In the Bedroom, with its themes out of Cheever or Updike, also moves toward the solemn and the shocking.One big reason for that is a second plot about a just-released sex offender and a troubled <more>
ex-cop who turns into a self-appointed protector of public morality campaigning to drive the ex-prisoner out of town.Brad Patrick Wilson is a househusband caring for his little boy while feebly preparing for his previously failed bar exams. He has a gorgeous but emasculating wife, Kathy Jennifer Connelly who's a successful PBS-style documentary filmmaker. Sarah Kate Winslet , with an MA in English, in charge of a recalcitrant little girl with whom she has little patience at times, has a well-off distant husband Gregg Edelman who's a pretentious adman who gets off on Web porn. Sarah and Brad meet in a park where moms take their kids, in East Wyndham, Massachusetts. They wind up kissing when they first meet, mainly to shock the other moms. Brad and Sarah spend a lot of the summer minding their kids together at the municipal pool. This turns into a torrid affair with frequent sex at Sarah's husband's large house. They're attractive, and attracted, and their general dissatisfaction with their spouses and with where they are now heightens their need to throw themselves at each other with the utmost abandon.Meanwhile Ronnie former child actor Jackie Earle Haley, vividly remembered from Bad News Bears and Breaking Away and strong in a new way here has come into town: he's the sex offender, a painfully self-aware one, and he lives with the one person who loves him, his aging mother Ruth a convincing Phyllis Somerville , while the ex-cop, Larry Noah Emmerich wages his war as a one-man "committee." Larry and Brad have met and Larry persuades Brad, who already wastes time watching boys skateboarding when he's supposed to be boning up for the bar exam, to join a night touch football league team made up of cops and thus the infidelity and the sex offender elements are linked. But they would be anyway, because this is a small community. And one particularly hot day Ronnie comes to the municipal swimming pool and causes an outcry when he's spotted ogling young girls under water.The other moms from the park, who were afraid of Brad and called him "the Prom King," are gently satirized by a voice-over narration spoken by Will Lyman, of Frontline on PBS, which sounds like a high school educational film. Perrotta is, after all, a comic writer. But more of that later.The movie has a bright, intense, clear visual style, sometimes making use of extreme close-ups. Since the acting and directing are fine, this gives things a feeling of authority. It's also effective in underlining both the satirical and the sensual aspects of the story, and heightens the emotional effect when the narrative lines move toward crisis.Brad's development the novel-based voice-over tells us may have been arrested by his mother's dying when he was in his early teens, and this explains why he watches the skateboarding boys with such longing: they're having the playtime that was stolen from him.Another theme is that of Cheryl Marsha Dietlein , Sarah's friend and neighbor who baby-sits with her daughter when she's having sex with Brad, speed-walks with her, and gets her into a book-discussion group leading to a pointed scene in which Madame Bovary is discussed and Sarah defends the adulterous heroine as someone who revolted in search of freedom. The older women nod approvingly, while one of the park moms doesn't get it at all.Partly because it's hard to juggle all these elements from a 350-page novel, the ironic narrative voice disappears throughout the film's midsection.At the end matters all come to a head, with Brad and Sarah, with Ronnie, and with his erstwhile nemesis, Larry, and a lot of tension is created through Hitchcockian cross-cutting between these climaxing threads.Field has avoided the extreme finale of his first film -- this one shares such heavy concerns as families, infidelity, crime, and confronting death, but by contrast, this ending, though breathless and troubling, is ultimately sweet and marked by reconciliation and acceptance. One may wonder if underlying issues have really been resolved. The film feels somewhat overlong, but the nuanced characterizations and fine acting and the attractiveness of the central couple entertain and interest us mightily.Perhaps the one weakness overall is a slight uncertainty of tone, which explains why some viewers are troubled by the voice-over and also by its long disappearance midway . If situations are seen primarily as highly serious or even horrifying, it's hard to see how the satirical feel fits in, and at the end we seem to have lost touch with where we started out. Ultimately as with so many American stories on film, the writers seem to have tried to tackle too much material. Nothing wrong with that, but they haven't quite got the world-view to encompass it all. Technically though Field has achieved more polish and shown more confidence, even compared to his already admirable and powerful first film of five years ago. The cast is wonderful, well chosen and well used. Field is an experienced actor: he knows the craft. This has got to be a film to think about at year's end when best lists are made up.
I was walking home the other evening having just watched this at the theatre. Two guys were ahead of me on the street and had just seen it as well. Not intending to listen in on their conversation ... I did anyway, *LOL*. One asked his friend what he thought about the movie and the second took a moment to think about it. His answer? "Twisted man, too twisted!" Thoreau wrote in Walden that "the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." In 'Little Children,' we see that quiet desperation played out to full effect by desperate housewives, ex-cons and damaged <more>
loners. A deep study of loneliness, 'Little Children' is morally ambiguous and doesn't judge. It uses humour, it uses dread, and it is a film that is at times quirky, intelligent and ultimately fascinating.I liked a lot of things about this movie and in the week since I saw it, I've grown to like it more. Thematically it should have been a terrible downer: a collection of people who've all settled into what seems like the beginning of the end. They've married, started having kids and every single one of them wakes up in the morning with dread. "Is this all that is left?" They have become, or more importantly, believe that they have become completely purposeless in the next of a continuing doldrum of empty days. Eternity awaits and eternity is purposeless existential hell.What is remarkable about a film whose subject should be so bleak, is the warmth and humour within it. Characters in 'Little Children' reject the lack of purpose, the unhappiness and try to re-inject a passion for life that they once had. At its most extreme, the quest for passion and purpose is lead by Noah Emmerich -- certainly most of the humour comes from his character. Winslet, Wilson and Emmerich are all flawed who isn't? but sympathetic. And then there is Jackie Earle Haley.How difficult must it have been to play a convicted sex offender who is both repellent and *gasp* sympathetic? If you're Jackie Earle Haley and you are stealing a film away from bigger stars and you've got a great part, then apparently it isn't very hard at all. Creepy, potentially dangerous but also fairly benign and pitiable, Haley gives a much over-looked performance in what is quickly becoming a much over-looked film. He has given what I think is one of the best performances this year, and what is certainly the best performance of his entire career.'Little Children' is "twisted man, too twisted" but it is also very good and very compelling. Well worth the risk and extremely well paced. It was only after the film had ended that I noticed how long the film was. Completely engrossing, I recommend it highly.
"You couldn't change the past," the narrator of Little Children tells us at the movie's close, "but the future could be a different story." The lives of the men and women who live in the very paragon of bland suburbia appear to be crunchy and even somewhat unforgiving on the outside, but inside they break, well, just like a little girl. A veritable sea of emotions, from love, despair, neglect, and hate churns below their pristine, everything-in-its-place veneers.The placidity of this particular neighborhood is jolted by two things: the arrival of a sex offender <more>
Jackie Earle Haley and the emergence of a relationship between married-but-not-to-each-other Sarah and Brad; both events, directly and obliquely, are remarked upon by the nattering nabobs of middle-class conservatism in the town, particularly the rather particular hausfraus and soccer moms.Sarah Pierce Winslet is a distant mother and wife; when she and her daughter Lucy visit the neighborhood playground, she sits away from the other mothers. As an indirect result, Lucy doesn't play with the other boys and girls on the see-saws or merry-go-round - she just plays quietly. Meanwhile, as the empty-headed women babble to each other but not Sarah , a newcomer enters their midst - a stay-at-home father, Brad, whom they mockingly call behind his back, of course "The Prom King." Sarah's marriage seems empty and devoid of purpose. Brad, for his part, is married to a breadwinner - his wife Karen Jennifer Connelly is a documentary filmmaker who's completely absorbed with her work. Like Sarah, Brad is a little emotionally distant from his wife and their son, Aaron, so it's no wonder he and Sarah become constant companions throughout the long, hot suburban summer, spending their days either at the park or at the public pool.The other main story thread involves the community's reaction to the presence of Ronnie McGorvey, convicted as a sex offender for flashing a young boy. Soon, there are fliers on telephone poles, and an angry outrage group is formed, led by ex-policeman Larry Noah Emmerich , who seems to be more upset with Ronnie's existence than anyone else in the town.At its core, the movie is about repression and "settling" - staying with someone just because they provide you comfort but no love is no reason at all, the film explains. Committing adultery just might be an okay act, even with children involved, as long as it means a better life for the principals. Brad and Sarah transform from nodding acquaintances to good friends who take care of their kids together Aaron and Lucy even grow to become friends, although up to that point they'd both been loners. When the opportunity arises for them to become more, though, they take it - an act that's not easy to conceal from the prying eyes of the neighbors, let alone their respective spouses and certainly not their children. How long, if at all, can they possibly hope to maintain the charade that they're just friends? Perhaps the thought that their own, current marriages are charades in their own right gives Sarah and Brad reason to believe they can perpetuate the sham against their spouses.Meanwhile, Ronnie attempt to cope with living as a sex offender. He lives with his doting mom, who believes there is good in everyone; she realizes that what Ronnie did was wrong, but that it was an accident, and she tries in vain to protect him from the rest of the community, which is by and large out to lynch him. But the brilliant caveat here is that Ronnie is by no means a victim - not only did he do what he was accused of although he shows remorse and a lot of self-hate , but he shows that he's capable of more of the same.In fact, that's the genius of Todd Field's film - not only are people flawed, but they're believably flawed. In Little Children, people make decisions for selfish reasons, and there's no wondrous epiphany that somehow saves the soul and good standing of the poor decision maker - people live with what they've done, or they don't make the decision in the first place.Winslet and Haley were nominated for their work here; the first-ever nomination for Haley, who was probably best known as Kelly Leak in the Bad News Bears films. He's eerie and creepy and utterly human as Ronnie McGorvey. You never really feel sympathy for the deviant, but you might feel a twinge of unease. For Winslet, this was the fifth nomination for the beauteous Briton, and it's astounding that she hasn't yet won. Then again, she's only 31 years old! Little Children is a stark, seamless, unsettling story that grabs a hold of your psyche and twists it almost to the breaking point, relying on strong performances by Winslet, Haley, Wilson, and Emmerich as well as a tortuous plot that provides quite a jaded look at the tranquility of suburban life.
Relationship drama is on the menu and Todd Field is the waiter, with expert skill and neat presentation. 'Little Children' zooms in on suburbia, navigating the world of desperate housewives and husbands. The dish proves a pleasant diversion, with crisp performances and a tasty centre.So tasty, in fact, that Little Children is one of the most interesting films of recent years. It is far from the greatest, and is not devoid of faults, but a genuine evocation of interest should be attributed to Field's story. Every character unflinchingly demands our attention. We want to know more <more>
about precisely everyone in the community. In the front row for fascination sits Ronnie, the resident child molestor, who pends between likable and freak. He is the overriding nominator for 'Little Children' and his presence greatly upsets the parents.Yet most salience is given to Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson as Sarah and Pierce two lonely, bored and desperate housespouses who, in the midst of having nothing to do, innocently begin an extramarital affair with each other. Through calm narration, the film introduces Sarah as an anthropologist and remarks how she is different from the contingent of housemoms. However it becomes apparent that the director is the anthropologist and not Sarah. Indeed Field studies human relationships accordingly, interweaving loneliness, desperation, jealousy, lust and betrayal. Sarah, in fact, loses her 'objective' stance and melts in with the rest as she indulges in her passion with Brad.It needs to be said that 'Little Children' often tips over into comedy and it is this refreshing edge that bumps it up to 8/10 on my scale. It treats serious subjects, such as pedophilia, infidelity and loneliness but it does so with the spark in the eye. A consistent cloud of laughter seemed to hover in the air of my theatre at the Stockholm Film Festival and Kate Winslet was undoubtedly the catalyst. She gives a fine performance with excellent emotional transparency, layered skill and above all with an inherent funny bone that translates to a goofy woman. The humour is surprisingly in-tune even with the other characters with all their quirks and afflictions, such as child-molestation and online pornography.Toward the end, 'Little Children' patiently crafts a sense of impending doom that deserves much credit. Nevertheless, the ending isn't the best imaginable. The film could benefit from being slightly shorter. Lastly the use of cute kids as tearjerkers is a disappointing cheap-shot used a little too often, and seems mostly a tiresome American phenomenon. Yet as a whole entity Little Children is a very interesting film that makes the best possible use of characters, relationships and suburban drama. Throw in a few exceptionally neat steadicam shots Scorsese-style and the experience is complete.8 out of 10
Greetings again from the darkness. Where the heck have you been, Todd Field? Last seen directing 2001's excellent "In The Bedroom", Field delivers another remarkable drama with "Little Children". He proves again his insight into real people and real relationships is a bit eerie and almost tough to watch as we often recognize ourselves in his characters.An incredibly well acted movie led by the usually mediocre Kate Winslet and an on the rise Patrick Wilson "The Alamo", "Hard Candy" and this year's "Running With Scissors" , the cast <more>
creates an atmosphere of real life allowing us to forget the performances and concentrate on the multi-layered story co-written by Field and novelist Tom Berrotta . The genius in the film is in so many specific moments within the scenes. Jennifer Connelly as Wilson's wife, and although still beautiful, she is scary skinny at the dinner table when she realizes, Winslet as she is putting her daughter on the floorboard of the car, Wilson as he sneaks off the train, and the mothers at the swimming pool when they realize a predator has pierced their inner sanctum. That predator is Jackie Earle Haley who is just outstanding in his brutally tough role. Haley was seen earlier this year in "All The King's Men" and hopefully is experiencing a real comeback. Although he will always be remembered as the talented center fielder in "Bad News Bears", he definitely has more to offer.Really good dramatic stories are so rare these days. Movie makers tend to be frightened of the tough decisions we all face every day and they fall back on proved formulas and feel good fluff. This movie is real and tough and will force you to analyze your life and perspective. What a marvelous thing to be able to say about a film.So, yes I highly recommend the film, but more importantly implore Mr. Field to not leave us hanging for another 5 years. Film lovers need you!!
The Future Can Be a Different Story (by claudio_carvalho)
In the suburbs, the boredom Sarah Pierce Kate Winslet lives a dull marriage without love with her selfish husband Richard Pierce Gregg Edelman , who is successful in his career but with awful sexual habits. She spends the mornings with her daughter Lucy Sadie Goldstein in the playground observing the behavior of the suburban mothers with their children. When Sarah sees the frisson caused by the handsome "househusband" Brad Adamson Patrick Wilson in the other women, she decides to talk to him. Brad tells her that he has failed twice in the Bar exams for lawyer and he is <more>
financially supported by his wife Kathy Jennifer Connelly , who is a documentary filmmaker. He omits that Kathy is a woman that gives all her attention to their son Aaron Ty Simpkins , refusing to have sex with him. Sarah feels trapped in her unhappy life and has an affair with Brad, who is the opposite of Richard, in the afternoons. Meanwhile, the pervert Ronnie J. McGorvey Jackie Earle Haley , who was in prison for indecent exposure, returns to his mother's house and feels the prejudice of his community against his presence, especially from the retired policeman Larry Hedges Noah Emmerich that is trying to force Ronnie to move away from their neighborhood."Little Children" is an extremely well-acted movie that uses a modern adaptation of Madame Bovary to the present days in the American suburbs. The boredom condition of Emma Bovary and Sarah Pierce are very similar, both fell trapped in an unhappy marriage, and have love affairs to escape from their boredom. This movie really deserved the nomination to the Oscar in the categories of Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, with Jackie Earle Haley having a top-notch performance in the role of a deranged sick man; Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role to the stunning Kate Winslet, one my favorite and best actress ever my only remark is that, at least for my eyes and taste, she is a charming and beautiful woman, and apparently Sarah Pierce is a plain woman; and Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay, to Todd Field and Tom Perrotta that were able to perfectly develop a complex story with entwined lives of many characters in an adequate pace and eroticism. In the end, "Little Children" is one of those unforgettable and highly recommended movies. My vote is eight.Title Brazil : "Pecados Íntimos" "Intimate Sins"