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Little Children 

Todd Field

Little Children
Directed by: Todd Field
(New Line)
It's easy to figure out that Little Children is based on a novel. It's peppered throughout with omniscient narration that sounds like it's being read directly from a book. Since the film's screenplay was co-written by Tom Perrotta, who also wrote the source material, it very likely is. The film, directed by Todd Field (In the Bedroom), is about the constraints and judgment of suburban life—stifled mom Sarah (Kate Winslet) and failed lawyer Brad (Patrick Wilson) embark on an affair, while pedophile Ronnie McGorvey (Jackie Earle Haley) returns home to live with his mother after completing his jail term. Both Winslet and Haley were Oscar-nominated for their work here, and all the film's actors do a great job: Winslet makes us care about distant mother Sarah, Wilson's jobless Brad seems searching rather than self-involved, Haley portrays Ronnie as both kind and profoundly creepy. But the actors are done a disservice by the context in which their characters are presented. The film's narration creates a detached tone that keeps viewers at a distance. We're told things the actors could easily show us. Little Children stresses the importance of human connection, but Perrotta and Field don't make much effort to connect with their audience.
Lindsay McCarney

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