Little Children

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Little Children
Review (8.5/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

Little Children is an adult comedy/drama with a little bit of comedy and a lot of drama that will probably be appealing to a 25-45 year old crowd. In fact, it will probably make way too many married couples wonder what their spouse is up to when they say they are taking junior to the local park or the community swimming pool. In the movie, Kate Winslet stars as Sarah Pierce, a stay-at-home mother (and not a good one at that), who spends her days taking her daughter Lucy to the local playground where she is forced to listen to the gossiping of other neighbourhood mothers.

Sarah seems to be going through the motions of your everyday stay-at-home mum until one day Brad (Patrick Wilson) magically appears at the park and the two hit it off. They start spending more and more time together, first at the park, then at the swimming pool and soon on the washing machine in the basement of Sarah's house. Then on the floor in the attic. Then on a secret weekend getaway. Next on the football field where Brad plays in a touch football league. And all this while Brad's wife (Jennifer Connelly) makes a documentary about children who lost their fathers in Iraq and Sarah's husband surfs internet porn with a pair of used panties wrapped around his head (I have to admit one of the funnier moments in cinema this year) and the children take a nap in Lucy's bed. Throw in a child sex offender (played by Jackie Earle Haley) in the neighbourhood and an ex-cop who has taken it into his own hands to rid the neighbourhood of the aforementioned offender and things in the quiet community of Wisteria Lane are sure to get interesting. Little Children is a funny, scathing and at times brutally disturbing look at suburban lives gone wild.

Little Children is a movie that has managed to elude me for quite some time. It played at the Toronto International Film Festival and three times I was unable to get into a packed screening. Then when I finally decided to see it at the theatre, it was gone. There were a couple of other incidents that I will not get into at this time but I was finally able to see the movie at a beat-up, but charming old theatre in Toronto and I was not disappointed despite all the said difficulties and frustration.

Little Children is a dark, thought-provoking, disturbing, shocking and humorous movie that is one of the fine movies to be released this past year. The cast is outstanding from Kate Winslet to Jackie Earle Haley, from Patrick Wilson to Jennifer Connelly. The scattered narration is dryly amusing and as I said earlier, I can't get the guy with the undies on his head out of my mind - absolutely hilarious (although I might have been one of the only people in the theatre who laughed out loud). The movie, in many ways, reminded me of American Beauty, in that is shows us the bizarre things that can happen in seemingly normal households and quiet neighbourhoods. It's not quite the movie that was American Beauty, but I would consider it the "poor man's" version of that movie and that's not too shabby. Perhaps the one minor complaint I would have is that the movie seemed to drag on a bit near the end and the 2 hour plus running time seemed to be a bit long but other than that, Little Children is a terrific movie that is sure to get serious consideration for many awards during Oscar season.

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