Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Movie Review: "Little Children"

A busy week for moviegoing...but not a great week.

"Little Children"...I felt one should see a film with Kate Winslet and Jennifer Connelly, especially one directed by Todd Field who, by the way, did such a bang-up job a few years ago with similar material (suburban marital dysfunction and angst) in "In the Bedroom", starring Sissy Spaceck and Tom Wilkinson.

So I went to the movie...but, unfortunately,l the experience was not as rewarding as "In the Bedroom". This time the suburban angst was not, as in "In the Bedroom", about a son's murder putting corrosive pressure on a dysfunctional marriage, but about the pressure of sex...or rather, the pressure of married people not getting enough. The central tension element in "Little Children" is just that: neither the married Kate's character, nor Jennifer's husband's character, is getting enough; Kate, because her husband would rather masterbate when viewing internet pornography, and Jennifer's husband (a stay at home Dad) is not getting enough because Jennifer kept letting their three-year old child sleep between them every night. So Kate and Jennifer's husband have an affair...what else...and the story develops along the lines, with typical plot twists usually attendent on such matters in these kinds of domestic dramas. (Oh: there is a pedophile sub-plot that resonates throughout...pedophelia as poetic metaphor: how about that for modern drama?!)

I'm sorry; it's just not the stuff of compelling drama for me.

Perhaps my problem is what "Little Children" is about: spoiled adults acting like children. If so, count me out. I don't like to be around spoiled adults or spoiled children in real life; I certainly don't want to be around them when I'm paying $10 for a ticket. (Also, I am rapidly getting inured to the sensitive meaningfulness of pedophiles. Perhaps I have read too much about Catholic priests and Rep. Tom Foley to remain open to the sympathetic meaningfulness of it all.)

"Little Children" is a well-acted, well mounted, but in the final analysis, it is an over-meaningful little movie that tries (and succeeds in some ways in spite of itself) to hide its content insignificance in its style.

I'm afraid one (I) gets the feeling that the producers/writers/director of this movie take their own upper-middle class domestic dramas a little too seriously, and want us to share and understand their angst. I appreciate angst...and understand sexual deprivation...but I respectfully suggest: the theme of this movie is better left to a psychiatrist's couch. Psychiatrists are generally much more attentive with those issues; they getting paid to identify with all that jazz/drama. I'm not.)


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