Little Children (2006)

Little Children (2006) — There is a definite subgenre of drama dedicated to people who are desperately unhappy in suburbia. Understandable enough. Little Children was on the Sundance Channel and since I caught it from the beginning I opted to watch the whole thing. Kate Winslet plays Sarah, an unhappy housewife. Patrick Wilson (Watchmen, Angels in America) plays Brad, an unhappy stay-at-home dad. They begin an affair which sort of acts as an escape from their lives. It’s all a fantasy though. Neither of them are going to walk away from their lives. Brad, unlike Sarah, doesn’t even have a particularly bad marriage. His wife Kathy (Jennifer Connelly) is the breadwinner of the family but that has more to do with Brad’s own lack of focus. Another subplot of the movie deals with a sex offender named Ronnie (Jackie Earle Haley) who was recently released from prison after a two-year sentence for indecent exposure to minors. A retired cop named Larry (Noah Emmerich) has made it his personal mission to harass Ronnie until he goes away. Meanwhile Ronnie’s mother (Phylis Sommerville) is just trying to help her son move on with his life. The movie is pretty melodramatic but also has a wicked streak of dark humor in it. Director Todd Field (In the Bedroom) portrays his characters sympathetically, rather than passing overt judgment on them. While the affair is obviously misguided, the characters aren’t condemned for participating in it. Anyway, as far as the suburban dysfunction subgenre goes this was a pretty decent flick…

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