Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Little Children

There's no denying several of the premises behind the movie Little Children, just out on DVD. First, Kate Winslet is a terrific actress - and given her Oscar nomination for this role, most people didn't bother to actually watch the movie when they nominated her. Second, suburbia is full of crazy characters that can mix together in new and interesting ways given the right set of material. And finally, Patrick Wilson is hot. I'm sure this was the pitch to the studios when this movie was put together, but much more than that was not really achieved. Kate Winslet plays a stay-at-home mom who doesn't really subscribe to the zany at-all-costs protection of the upper middle class way of life, but is trying hard to fit in. She befriends a stay-at-home dad (the melt in your mouth hot Patrick Wilson) to throw off the other mommies, and finds a kindred spirit who wants to buck stereotypes, but still wants to preserve his dignity and love his son. So they spend a summer lounging by the pool and trying to keep their romance a secret from their spouses (who are just odd in their own right - her husband is obsessed with internet porn, and his wife loves her son but not her husband). Thrown into this very strange mix is a recently released felon with a "psycho-sexual disorder". Jackie Earle Haley deserved his Oscar nomination for supporting actor because his creepy, unpredictable character acknowledges his own evil nature, and yet still wants to be the good boy his mother prays for. His story line only touches the romance tangentially and makes for uneven pacing throughout. In the end, the main characters realize they don't want to throw their lives away, but rather be brave and fight for the love they found they deserve (through some very unclear realizations). Overall, it's interesting, but pretending that Kate Winslet is less appealing than Jennifer Connelly was not an easy plotline to accept. They tried to make it clear that self-confidence and determination can make you appealing, but it didn't quite work. Also, there's a TON of narration over the story lines that seems a little out of place - but necessary or the movie would be fairly silent in its deliberations.

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