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  Publicity Stills of "Little Children"
(Courtesy from Warner Bros)

Genre: Drama
Director: Todd Field
Cast: Jennifer Connelly, Patrick Wilson, Kate Winslet
RunTime: 2 hrs 10 mins
Released By: Warner Bros
Rating: M18 (Some Sexual Content)

Opening Day: 8 February 2007



Synopsis :

A modern-day fable that explores the turbulent emotional landscape beneath the surface of what seems to be a quiet, conventional American suburb. Juggling marriage, children, sexual desire and infidelity, the intertwining characters of LITTLE CHILDREN take us on a journey that is as emotionally revealing as it is darkly humorous. Razor-sharp writing, brilliant direction, and strong performances imbue LITTLE CHILDREN with wry humor and emotional truth as deeply fell as life itself. As entertaining as it is poignant, the film provides a new somewhat different perspective on everyday life.

Movie Review:

No, everything is not alright – but you’d still have to get a grip on yourself and deal with it. Such is the way of life in today’s highly urbanized society we live in. That is probably the message that will long haunt your mind after watching this movie.

What lies beneath the surface of a seemingly regular American suburb is strikingly laid bare in this film adaptation of Tom Perrotta’s 2004 novel of the same name.

With what appears to be every filmmaker’s favourite method of storytelling in recent times, this Todd Field-directed picture tells the stories of several individuals in a typical neighbourhood whose paths intersect in life-changing ways.

There is the desperate housewife played heart-achingly by the appropriately well-endowed Kate Winslet. There is the resident good-looker who is charmingly brought to life by Patrick “Hard Candy” Wilson. Then there is Jackie Earle Haley who is convincingly scary as a convicted child molester. Rounding up the ensemble of the lonely urbanites is Noah Emmerich’s ex-policeman with a dark past.

Before you conveniently conclude that the abovementioned characters would only work within those thick pages of the novel, you may want to take note that Perrotta co-wrote the screenplay with Field. So things can’t be that bad.

In fact, the result is a delightful piece of work.

The 130-minute movie never rushes through things, taking its time to take you through the quietness of the neighbourhood. The impatient viewer will probably not like its lengthiness, but its restrained mood is exactly what makes this work an engaging watch. However, there are occasional moments of humour which pokes fun at the uptight human nature. This gives the movie extra points for being able to make us laugh at ourselves.

Accompanying you throughout the two-odd hours is a calm and well-articulated narration which vividly paints thought-provoking pictures in your head, on top of the visuals you see on screen. You can almost feel the devastation and doom waiting to surface at the characters’ every wrong step.

The deceptive meetings and torrid affairs between Winslet and Wilson take place at the most common and familiar places like the town swimming pool and laundry rooms, which effectively left us hot and bothered. Their respective spouses (Gregg Edelman and Jennifer Connelly who performed well in understated roles) aren’t angels in this story either, as imperfections are in every human being.

If the two couples repulse you with their ugly personalities, you’d be easily empathizing with the recovering child molester and the impulsive policeman because of the comparatively more dramatic elements written into their characters.

Field’s last full length feature was In The Bedroom (2001). After six years from directing the heart-wrenching and emotional Oscar-nominated movie, the director has once again despairingly told our stories with shots of simple but well-composed visuals which complement the edgy drama.

And when the movie culminates in a finale that brings all four main characters together in a heartbreaking sequence, you’d want to applaud yourself for having the courage and strength for maintaining the balance that is called life all this while.

Sometimes, dreams will always remain as dreams while life goes on – as this skillfully-executed movie will remind you.

Movie Rating:

(A fine novel adaptation that will break your heart in the quietest ways)

Review by John Li



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