5. LITTLE CHILDREN
(Photo and poster: New Line Productions)
By Omar P.L. Moore/The
A film of undeniable
power and deeply thought-provoking, Todd Field's "Little Children" is a sharp
and witty adult drama -- the best American adult drama of the year.
Suburban Massachusetts is the backdrop for the nefarious interactions within a
small New England town, where the adults are racked with fear, running away from
-- or running to -- the places where they feel most comfortable. Fear,
suspicion and infidelity immerse the landscape, and Mr. Field's writing and
direction are razor sharp, so much so that there is an intensely claustrophobic
feel to his film.
Tom Perrotta co-wrote the screenplay for "Little Children", which was adapted from
his own novel of the same title. The pacing of story, the sense of
atmosphere, the palpable feelings of guilt, distance, longing,
self-righteousness, hope, failure and
despair are constantly flickering through the actors (Kate Winslet, Jennifer
Connelly, Patrick Wilson, Noah Emmerich, Phyllis Somerville and Jackie
Earle Haley -- whose character Ronnie is an unforgettable presence.) The
film has a fairly-tale/National Geographic documentary-type narration to it,
which feels like a satirical element that gives the film a certain grounding and
edginess at the same time -- the narration is purposeful and sparing. The
characters, none of whom are blameless in this remarkable adult exploration,
seem barely able to breathe in their trapped surroundings -- and this appears to
be by design. For sure, this intelligent work is one that will stay in
your mind for quite some time after the end credits -- and it merits a second
(or even third) viewing.
The PopcornReel.com film
of "Little Children" first appeared on October 20, 2006.