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« Inside Out at Cannes: the critics approve | Main | Cannes Review: Irrational Man »
Monday
May182015

That Laundry Room Scene in "Little Children"

For The Lusty Month of May, we're looking at a sex scene each night. Here's Manuel

Why is it that a drenched body is so lust-inducing on screen and yet so horribly oppressive in real life? This question came to me as I began fearing the humid sweat-filled summer we’re bound to have very soon in New York, while pondering one of my favorite on-screen sex scenes...

If you’ve seen Little Children you know that this laundry machine is a perfect visual euphemism for the illicit lovemaking that the camera is panning towards...

Sarah (Kate Winslet), a smart literate woman who is trapped in the dull role of housewife, has found herself attracted to the Brad (Patrick Wilson), a stay-at-home dad studying up for the bar exam. Alone after a sudden downpour at the pool (their bodies twice drenched!), they finally give in to their mutual attraction and have delicious, sweaty, guilty sex.

Indeed, it is the sweat that has always stayed with me whenever I think of Winslet and Wilson’s steamy scenes. Right after we see their first sexual tryst, we’re given the moment that gives the film its poster (and oh what a poster it is!), with Sarah and Brad enjoying a leisurely chat in her attic. And every time I watch it, all I can focus is a drip of sweat slowly falling off Wilson’s nipple.

It's transfixing. 

Sarah has been reading Shakespeare and, right before he storms into the laundry room, he’s seen she’s underlined Sonnet 147 (“My love is a fever”): their affair is combustible indeed, heating them up and making them sweat up a storm. But of course, sweat, much like Shakespeare’s sonnet suggests, may also be indicative of an “uncertain sickly appetite.”

But then, wouldn’t you also choose to indulge in some sweat-inducing, “frantic-mad” desire disease with this hunk of man? Who doesn't need a cold shower when Patrick Wilson is in "Prom King" mode?

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Reader Comments (13)

my god this scene.

ALSO CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR PHd.

May 18, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I remember catching this on HBO and thinking this hookup was the hottest ever.

May 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBia

Agreed. SO hot. Patrick's best work to date. And Winslet's best work post-ESOTSP.

May 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

Its not weird that I sometimes think of this scene when doing laundry, right? Right?

Good pick! And Patrick Wilson is underrated.

May 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTravis

"Why is it that a drenched body is so lust-inducing on screen and yet so horribly oppressive in real life? This question came to me as I began fearing the humid sweat-filled summer we’re bound to have very soon in New York"

OH GOD. I know, right? I'm always horrified when I have a wet sweat mark on my back.

But back to the scene. I've never even noticed the sweat drop on Patrick's nipple. What's wrong with me?

Love this new series, btw. The serieses (not a word but i'm too tired to make sense) are my favorite part of this site.

May 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck.

"Why is it that a drenched body is so lust-inducing on screen and yet so horribly oppressive in real life? This question came to me as I began fearing the humid sweat-filled summer we’re bound to have very soon in New York"

It's said that (for better or worse) you haven't really seen someone until you've seen them soaking wet. I have to agree.

May 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Kate Winslet should have won the Oscar over Helen Mirren for this performance. Just flat out amazing, and this sex scene is super steamy ;)

May 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBhuray

"Little Children" is the best proof that Patrick Wilson is a hunka, hunka, burnin' love!

May 19, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterrick gould

Oh my, Patrick Wilson in this movie...just...ugh. And then thing is, 10 years later, he's still looking mighty fine and if he got the chance to stop playing shlubby suburban dads or whatnot he could still do something like this again. Remember when movies about steamy love affairs were sexy? Take not, "50 Shades of Grey."

As much as I liked Winslet's performance the first time I saw this when it came out, when I rewatched it a couple years ago I actually found it kind of...boring? I liked Nick Davis' idea that this is her playing a Toni Collette type, so I would've loved to see what someone like Collette could've done with it.

May 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

Also, really looking forward to the rest of this series! What a great idea, especially considering how sex scenes have been lacking in frequency and actual sexiness lately. Maybe cable stole the movies' edge in that regard.

May 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

Patrick Wilson? Why not. It's May, it's May, the lusty month of May--that darling month when everyone goes blissfully astray.

May 19, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Kate Winslet herself chose Patrick Wilson as her co-star. Well I saw what you did there, Kate.

May 20, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterfadhil

One of those films I'm happy about that it exists. :)

May 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSanty C.

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