Little Children

Run Time: 2hr. 10min.
Rating: R-strong sexuality and nudity, language
And some disturbing content.
Cast: Kate Winslet, Jennifer Connelly, Patrick Wilson,
Jackie Earle Haley.
Director: Todd Field.
Genre: Drama, Romance.
Stars: 3 1/2.

Taken from the novel by Tom Perrotta, Little Children is so dialogue heavy that it seems more like a play than a film, except for the striking swimming pool scene in which a pedophile goes for a dip in a crowded public pool on the hottest day of the summer.

Stay-at-home-mom, Sarah (Kate Winslet) discovers that her husband, Richard, (Gregg Edelman) is having an internet affair with “Slutty Kay.” At the same time, the three moms at the park, as vicious as the witches in Macbeth, have unwittingly done a sales pitch on The Prom King who is local-stay-at-home dad, Brad (Patrick Wilson). When she discovers that the moms have never even spoken to The Prom King, Sarah can’t resist stirring it up. Sarah asks Brad first to hug then kiss her as the moms look on. Lonely and neglected by his professional wife, (Jennifer Connelly) Brad obliges, marking the beginning of a rather garden variety torrid summer affair. All the while, the pedophile lurks in shallow waters.

Director Todd Field, tells many stories at once, stories that are too often coarsely woven. With a dash of football for the boys and a Madame Bovary book club for the girls, Field attempts to lure in both male and female audiences. Spreading himself too thin, Field relies on an omniscient voice over to patch it all together. Twenty minutes of dialogue could have been dropped with no lament.

Jackie Earle Haley (BreakingAway), with a performance worthy of Tennessee Williams, is darkly engaging as the pedophile, Ronnie McGarvey, troubled and lonely, too attached to his mother. Together, Ronnie and his girlfriend, Sheila, (Jane Adams) present a disturbing and deeply felt cameo, the fragile highlight of a sometimes superficial film.

Van East Cinema

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