19 September 2009

Numéro neuf: Little Children

Little Children is a hauntingly beautiful movie with stunning performances by its two lead actors, Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson. Kate Winslet is a phenomenal actress and her talents are displayed brilliantly in this chilling film directed by Todd Field. Todd Field's previous film, In The Bedroom, left me absolutely stunned at the end as well. Little Children is based off the novel of the same name by Tom Perrotta, who co-wrote the screenplay with Todd Field. Tom Perrotta, as I have come to learn, is also responsible for the source material for the clever film Election. I will admit that I had never been a fan of Kate Winslet until seeing this film. Once the closing credits ended I was unable to move and yet eager to go discuss this film with anyone who had seen it. It was that powerful.

Kate Winslet plays Sarah, an emotionally and sexually starved homemaker with a young daughter, and feels lost in her role as a wife and mother. Sarah meets Brad (Patrick Wilson) at a park with his son and find themselves drawn to one another. We learn that Brad feels emasculated in his relationship with his wife (Jennifer Connelly), who treats Brad as a second child. Sarah and Brad begin spending summer days together at the community pool with their children and establish a daytime friendship, which quickly develops into an affair, using their children as a reason to be together. Sarah's desire for Brad becomes more and more fervent while Brad's wife begins to question his new demeanor. While this is happening, Ronnie has been released from prison for indecent exposure to a minor. These two stories are linked through Larry (Noah Emmerich), an acquaintance of Brad's who has been relieved of duty as a police officer and seeks out revenge on Ronnie and his elderly mother.

Little Children, narrated impeccably by Will Lyman of PBS' Frontline, is a harrowing example of how the simplest action can affect the lives of others. Kate Winslet gives an astonishingly layered performance of a suburban housewife turned psychotic mistress. She richly deserved her Oscar nomination and, in my opinion, should have won over Helen Mirren in The Queen (sorry to be the sole dissenter). The film flows beautifully and each actor brings such emotion to the character that the viewer becomes emotionally involved in the lives of each character.

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