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Little Children

3.8 out of 5 stars 223 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Little Children (DVD)

Academy Award® winner Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind) and Academy Award® nominee Kate Winslet (Finding Neverland) star with Patrick Wilson (Angels in America) in this big-screen adaptation of Tom Perotta's best-selling novel that exposes the turbulent emotional landscape primed to explode just beneath the surface of a quiet suburban neighborhood. A darkly comic, revealing journey through a world both familiar and foreign, this story of marriage, children, desire and infidelity bristles with the keen writing of its acclaimed author (Election) and the direction of Academy Award®-nominated Todd Field (In the Bedroom).

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Kate Winslet operates at a galaxy-class level in Little Children, Todd Field's gratifyingly grown-up look at unhappy suburbia. Winslet is magnificent, in an Oscar-nominated performance, as a stroller-pushing mom who becomes attracted to a passive househusband (Patrick Wilson). Their slow-burning infidelity (Field wisely allows time to pass in this unhurried film) is contrasted with a more sensational subplot, about a convicted pedophile (Jackie Earle Haley, also Oscar nominated) returning to the neighborhood to live with his mother (Phyllis Somerville). Field, who brought his civilized approach to In the Bedroom, uses a deliberately literary style here, including a device with a narrator who sounds as though he's sitting at our side as he reads from Tom Perotta's novel. (The narrator is a superb touch--his cultivated voice distances us from the sloppy passions of the characters.) The film's biggest miscalculation is a self-appointed neighborhood vigilante (Noah Emmerich) determined to make life miserable for the pedophile. But Wilson is appropriately nebulous, Jennifer Connelly solid as his wife, and Haley (child star of the Bad News Bears movies), as the creepy, childlike molester, found himself rediscovered after a long career layoff. There's decent acting here, but Winslet is in a zone of her own, with so much emotional honesty and subtlety of expression that she transforms a good movie into a must-see. --Robert Horton

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Kate Winslet, Jennifer Connelly, Patrick Wilson, Jackie Earle Haley, Noah Emmerich
  • Directors: Todd Field
  • Writers: Todd Field, Tom Perrotta
  • Producers: Todd Field, Patrick Palmer, Albert Berger, Kent Alterman, Ron Yerxa
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: New Line Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 4, 2007
  • Run Time: 137 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (223 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000N3SU92
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,648 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Little Children" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
There is a bucolic, brief scene of restless suburbanite Sarah (Kate Winslet) sitting peacefully under a tree, reading, in Little Children. Her daughter Lucy plays happily nearby as the leaves rustle and the birds chirp. Everything is bathed in perfect light. All of the elements--the camera, the performers, nature, etc.--conspire to make an invigorating, warm shot.

This single scene sums up the overall tone for director Todd Field's assured sophomore effort. He chooses this image, which moves, languidly, from a tight full-body shot of the serene actress to a longer, more atmospheric shot. As the first image the viewer sees on the menu page of the DVD. It is an evocative, iconic shot that speaks volumes without any words. It is pure, gorgeous ambiance--something Field is shaping up to be very keen on, and very good at.

A leisurely little movie that pits an acerbic script (by Field and Tom Perrota--who wrote the expansive 350 page novel on which the film is based) with a brilliantly mismatched ensemble, Little Children is a rare contemporary film that is nearly perfect in its execution. Stillness in both mood and pace are just as important to the director as lingering close-ups of his actors' attractive reactions. Field is able to present, believably, a vision of bourgeois suburbia as an almost mythical netherworld. Often, dangerously, the atmosphere here can change on a dime: from playful to sexy to deadly and back again within the same scene.

Sarah is sort of a bad mother. She's a little selfish about her time. She doesn't quite connect to her adorable moppet of a daughter in the way she expected to. The film is unafraid to debunk the stereotypes about settling down and being a "mommy". Sarah would say that it isn't all it's cracked up to be.
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Format: DVD
"Little Children," directed by Todd Field (who also scored with the 2001 film In the Bedroom), is a spectacular adaptation of the Tom Perrotta novel from which it is derived. Field and Perrotta, who co-wrote the screenplay, captured the essence of the book and made it sparkle on the screen. It focuses on Brad and Sarah, two unhappily married people who feel that their lives have been waylaid by parenthood. Brad was a college athlete bound for a career as an attorney when his beautiful wife's work as a director of documentaries took off, they had a son, and Brad became seemingly incapable of passing the bar exam (his wife, by the way, is played by Jennifer Connelly, who does quite a lot with a relatively small amount of screen time). He doesn't really mind being cast as Mr. Mom, seeing as his greater ambitions seem to have gone up in smoke, but he does feel uncomfortable around the moms populating the playground and town pool -- who have dubbed him "the prom king" because of his good looks. That all changes when he meets kindred spirit Sarah (the exquisitely natural Kate Winslet, who earned an Oscar nom for her deeply layered and precise performance), who had been on her way to a PhD in literature until marriage and motherhood got in the way. Now her already shaky marriage is on the rocks thanks to her husband's curious use of 'office time' (I won't spoil the surprise), and she and Brad jump at the opportunity to throw it all away by starting a passionate affair while their children nap during playdates. The title, you see, refers to the adults in this story as much as the children that have appeared in their lives.Read more ›
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"Little Children" is a perfect movie: intelligently directed, lavishly produced, beautifully photographed, gloriously acted, intricately plotted and logically put together.
Director Todd Field's first film, "In the Bedroom" (based on a story by Andre Dubus) was also effective, moving, and brutal: a kitchen sink drama about a murder, the families involved with that murder and the repercussions involved therein.
In "Little Children," Fields has ratcheted up the living circumstances to upstate, suburban Massachusetts: plain jane, Sarah Pierce (Kate Winslet) unhappily married to a porno -obsessed, mostly absent husband, the drop dead gorgeous couple of Kathy and Brad Anderson (Patrick Wilson and for once not playing a victim, the luminous Jennifer Connolly) who have reached an impasse in their marriage as Kathy is it's sole provider and Brad is conflicted about taking the Law Bar exam for the third time. Thrown into this mix is a recently released from jail for exposing himself to a child, Ronald McGorvey (Jackie Earle Haley) and his loving, doting Mother (Phyllis Somerville).
Sarah and Brad, both with their children, meet in a park one day: attraction is inevitable though neither is the other ones "type." That said, what they do fill for each other are those voids that tend to get bigger and deeper as we grow older, grow more disappointed with our lives and realize that our dreams will probably not come true. Fairy-tale romance this one? Hardly. Fields is too much the realist, his psyche and artistic intuition too much about the realities of contemporary life to go that route and Winslet and Wilson give Sarah and Brad their all: vulnerable, romantic, crazy-in-lust even but again always looking over their shoulders for that "thing" that will break them up.
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