• James Rutherford

‘Little Children’: An Expressive Social Satire Centered on a Fervent Pair of Adulterous Lovers


Movie poster for the film Little Children starring Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson

“Little Children” (2006) is a striking and expressive drama set in suburban Boston, where young stay-at-home mother Sarah Pierce (Kate Winslet) becomes engaged in a furtive love affair with a seemingly guileless married man named Brad (Patrick Wilson).


Sarah drifts through her day-to-day existence, neglecting work on her doctorate while tending to her 3 year-old daughter alongside her oft-distracted husband Richard. Encountering Brad at the local park where their children play, Sara soon falls into a passionate sexual relationship with the charming law student—he himself married to the increasingly suspicious Kathy (Jennifer Connelly).


Simultaneously, the storyline interweaves the activities of a registered sex offender named Ronnie (Jackie Earle Haley) who populates the same community, and whose own path toward redemption is beset by a former police officer named Larry Hedges (Noah Emmerich) dedicated to his harassment and abject humiliation.


Based on the novel by Tom Perrotta and directed by Todd Field (“In the Bedroom”), “Little Children” delivers a fervent and often darkly amusing tale of desperation and interpersonal discord. As social satire, it delves into the the sordid underbelly of a seemingly idyllic community to tease out a dynamic depiction of its residents at their most entangled and disorderly. Disquieting and often roundly salacious, it’s a bold, wry and entirely unforgettable depiction of the complexities of human relations in the 21st Century.

 

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