Just another day in suburbia. Sara (Kate Winslet) is a bored housewife who attends play dates with other bored housewives. She phones it in — until she meets a sexy stay-at-home dad (Patrick Wilson). The other women make a bet with her, but she takes the bet way too far. Brad the sexy dad — a.k.a., “The Prom King” — has an equally sexy wife (Jennifer Connelly), the home’s breadwinner. Sara wants him all to herself. What about her husband, you ask? They’re not exactly in speaking terms at the moment. Winning Brad over won’t be easy. Meanwhile, a sullen cop with a dark past (Noah Emmerich) is on board with the rest of the neighborhood when he decides to get rid of the town’s alleged pervert (Jackie Earle Haley), changing his reputation from the town’s screw-up to local hero. Pervert or not, May McGorvey (Phyllis Summerville) knows her grown-up son isn’t normal, but she’s determined to see him in a stable relationship before she leaves this world. These people’s lives tangle up, creating toxicity and chaos that could make or destroy their lives forever.
LITTLE CHILDREN is one of those dark stories that leave a funny taste in your mouth, but you still can’t help loving it. This film is a loose adaptation of Tom Perrotta’s bestselling novel. I knew Perrotta way back when, and I love that his work has found its way into film. I am fascinated with films and TV shows since I took an interest in screenwriting. As a novelist, I thought it would be a natural transition to shift my focus into writing scripts, and this movie inspires me. The tone is perfect — love it! The acting is superb. Such an amazing, all-star cast! Kate Winslet as the “plain” Sara is amazing, like everything Winslet does. I just think it’s adorable that Hollywood thinks Kate Winslet is plain. She tries to look like a plain girl though! (And of course, she’s nude in various scenes in this movie. Is Winslet allergic to clothing?) And what can I say about Patrick Wilson? Talented and gorgeous! I wish he were in more movies.
Downsides? A couple. The third-person narrative seems rather random. I suppose it’s necessary, because it adds information we wouldn’t get otherwise. Most of the narrative is straight from the book. I also don’t know what to make of Ronnie McGorvey. As weird as he is, you can’t help but feel bad for the guy, especially since we don’t know what his “psychosexual disorder” is. We get a glimpse during his bizarre date with a depressed woman (Jane Adams), and he and his mother mention that he doesn’t date “women his own age.” The neighborhood thinks he’s a pedophile, but they never confirm this in the movie. Just as well. The story is dark enough as it is. Loved LITTLE CHILDREN. It reminds me of AMERICAN BEAUTY, WEEDS, WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE? and SELLEVISION. Perrotta loves these murky suburban tales with sexually repressed characters, as proven in MRS. FLETCHER, a new HBO series. Read and/or watch this if you like well-written stories with intricate plotlines and complex characters. Four out of five Milky Cinnamon Lattes!