Little Children gained more than a little recognition for being a good film via Academy Award nominations. However, was it truly worthy?
Directed by Todd Field who also directed the controversial film In the Bedroom, Little Children is about the paths of two married and seemingly bored suburbanites, their affair, and then the world around them; which includes a recently released sex offender. The leading roles are filled by Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson, with support from Jennifer Connelly, Jackie Earl Haley, some more people, and some kids.
The first thing one will notice about the film will be the mood set via the lighting, and then of course the narrator Will Lyman, who is often used in documentaries. As a viewer you are immediately drawn into this storybook like atmosphere in a non-traditional storybook sort of setting and the quirkiness and underlying humor keeps you hooked. The actors play their parts decent enough, with Jackie Earl Haley as the sex offender standing out from the crowd; a well deserved nomination from the academy. However, the real power of the film comes in a few shocking moments. These moments that I shall not ruin for you are disturbing surprises that no matter what you think of the movie as a whole: you should remember. Also, I’ll add, Jackie Earl Haley’s character is at the center of these moments.
Now to take the positive vibe I have started this review with and all of the admirable qualities of the film I have put in the spotlight and get right down to the truth of matters. Little Children will have scenes you will remember, but overall it winds its way to an ending that is anti-climatic and nulls the usage of many of the previous scenes leaving the viewer without a conclusion or even a satisfying non-conclusion. As rich and as poetic as the film is at moments and as fun and different as it is with its narrator it just does not live up to the hype bestowed upon it by the Award shows and actually one will note it did not win those Academy awards. All of the passion and detail seemingly built up within the film just disappears into nothingness. In short: the 2 hours and 10 minutes of film is a wasted journey.
Little Children will suck a person in, captivate them, and then disappoint them. I will remember certain scenes for some time to come, but never again will I actually have the desire to want to see the film. I recommend it for a rent, however make sure to get something else too.