Monday, November 20, 2006
My rating: 4/5
Little Children paints a very interesting picture of middle-class domesticated thirtysomethings whose lives intertwine through their children. As relationships become more complicated they find themselves facing some hard truths about parenting and growing up.
This film is Todd Field’s greatly anticipated follow-up to 2001’s In the Bedroom, which got five Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and a handful of acting nominations. Here, Field demonstrates his winning formula again by writing characters that are easy to relate to despite their often selfish and careless motivations. Similarly to In the Bedroom the storyline, although not full of twists, never allows the viewer to know where it is going. The plot is deliberately slow paced to allow the intricacies of the character’s relationships to reveal themselves, giving the audience a genuine examination of the complications of choosing what is right and what is wrong. With sordid affairs, hot tempers and a reformed paedophile taking up most of the story it is clear that the director wanted to keep morality firmly in the “grey” area without becoming judgmental of the characters.
A large part of why this film works so well is the fine performances from the extremely talented cast. Kate Winslet plays dowdy young wife and mother, Sarah who seems to resent the fact that her child needs so much of her time. She embarks on an affair with a dad she meets at the playground played by Patrick Wilson. Their dependence on the excitement of their sexual encounters forms the basis of the plot of the film. Both actors do a great job of leaving their souls at the door for these characters. Jennifer Connolly also performs well as Wilson’s pushy but caring wife Kathy. As with his last film, the Academy may reward Todd Field’s cast with another round of nominations.