Little Children (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner24/10/2006

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 140 mins

Opens London Film Festival: October 25th

Impressively directed, sharply written and beautifully shot drama with superb performances from the entire cast.

What's it all about?
Directed by Todd Field (In The Bedroom) and adapted from the novel by Tom Perrotta, Little Children stars Kate Winslet as Sarah Pierce, a bored suburban mother who begins an affair with Brad (Patrick Wilson), an attractive stay-at-home father nicknamed The Prom King by the gossiping mothers at the playground.

Meanwhile, Brad's ex-cop friend Larry (Noah Emmerich) pressures him to join a campaign against a registered sex offender (Jackie Earle Haley as Ronnie) who's living in the area with his mother (Phyllis Somerville).

The Good
Kate Winslet gives one of her best performances as Sarah, whose stifled desperation for something different is almost palpable. Patrick Wilson is equally impressive as the increasingly emasculated Brad, while Jackie Earle Haley gives an astonishing, largely sympathetic portrayal of a man struggling to live in a community that is terrified of him.

In addition, there's strong support from Noah Emmerich, Jennifer Connelly (as Patrick's bread-winning wife), Gregg Edelman (as Sarah's internet porn-addicted husband) and Phyllis Somerville, who gives a touching performance as Ronnie's mother.

The Great
The novel's origins are highlighted by the occasional use of an omniscient narrator, which leads to some very funny moments. In addition, Field employs some unusual directorial touches (such as a split-screen phone scene that looks like a photo album) to interesting effect and includes some arresting close-ups of things like Jennifer Connelly's eyes or Winslet's thick eyebrows.

The dialogue is excellent and there are some terrific scenes, particularly a heart-breaking blind date scene between Haley and Jane Adams and a thought-provoking scene involving panic at a swimming pool. There are also frequent echoes of American Beauty, right down to a score by the same composer, Thomas Newman.

Worth seeing?
In short, Little Children is a compelling emotional drama with terrific performances, a thought-provoking script and impressive direction throughout. Recommended.

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Little Children (15)
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Content updated: 16/12/2017 18:32

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