Sunday, March 23, 2008

Little Children

I watched this movie on DVD a few months ago and didn't blog about it, though I wanted to. If you don't remember it, it was a somewhat acclaimed but not widely popular film starring Kate Winslet (who needs no introduction) and Patrick Wilson (Phantom of the Opera, GAP commercial, Broadway star), with Jennifer Connelly in a supporting role. It's a dystopic all-white suburbia tale, the dark and quietly incisive take rather than the Desperate Housewives take.

I actually don't know what possessed me to rent it at this late date -- or actually I do; I decided I should read and watch a few more things with 'modern' settings, since I like period work so much for fun. Those pieces, of course, reflect our concerns just as much, but it's interesting to see a straight take on ourselves. Stay-at-home mums, neighborhood watch, prom kings gone to seed -- it's all here. Wilson and Winslet play stay-at-home parents, bored and desperately self-loathing for giving up on their careers, who fall into an affair that gives them some semblance of hope and excitement. Little do they know that everyone else in the town is just as desperate as they are, just not so superior about it.

It just drew me in more and more as the plot unfolded (can't bear to spoil it here; you know I always avoid that if I can). I do recommend it, but be warned that it is, as I said, dark. Beautifully shot; interesting score, light and melancholy. Great acting from all, though Connelly was a bit bland (you could argue that that was a deliberate choice). Winslet got her fifth Oscar nomination for this role. She'll win someday, no doubt. You would think that her courage in being so resolutely homely in this movie would have scored her some points, but she ran into the unstoppable force that was Helen Mirren.

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