Monday, November 20, 2006

"Little Children": See This Film Now.

My wonderful, kind and caring husband came home from work Tuesday night with a big surprise for me: He was taking the whole day off from work on Wednesday, so I could have a little "me" time.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I have a good man. The best man.

So Wednesday morning, I sprang joyfully out of bed (a far cry from what I usually do, which is drag my grumpy ass from the bed to the couch, where the aforementioned practically perfect man serves me coffee), showered and drove Hazel to preschool. From 9:15 a.m. on, I was a single gal in the city. I ate, I thrifted in the Mission, I shopped for books downtown and little girls slippers in Chinatown, and - are you ready for the best part? - I saw a movie. At 12:20 on a Wednesday afternoon. It was just me and a retired, sixtysomething hippy couple, and it was awwwwwesome.

Little Children is one of those rare films that is so good -- so seamless, and well-paced, and superbly acted -- that it actually transcends the material from which it came (in this case, Tom Perotta's novel of the same name, which was quite good as well). The main characters, Sarah and Brad, are so easy to relate to, so human and flawed. They are both living on cruise control, surprised and a little disappointed by where their lives have taken them. Their extramarital affair keeps the pace of the movie flowing, but it is their inner transformations, their gradual shifts in perspective as human beings, that is it's heart.

Kate Winslet plays Sarah, a stay-at-home-mom who has a hard time relating to her daughter, and no close friends, and no idea how to live the life she's in. If you've ever had one of those "I love my life, but how did I end up here?" moments, as I have, you will love this character, and wish her well. She is not idealized, as mothers often are in films, nor is she criminalized for not being an ideal mom. I appreciated the frank and forthright way in which this character is depicted. I felt a kinship with her immediately, and the fact that she is played by the glorious Kate Winslet, makes her even more appealing. Patrick Wilson plays Brad, a gorgeous stay-at-home-dad isolated by a world of moms, who find him threatening and unnerving -- as does his own wife. Jackie Earl Haley plays Ronnie, a convicted sex felon who's just moved back into this suburban neighborhood, and, ironically, the only "child" in the story who is loved, unconditionally.

Each of the central characters reaches a breaking point at the climax of the film, which is both hopeful and sad, and underlines the real message of this story: you can't change the past, but you can change the future -- and the future has to start somewhere. Words to take to heart.

If you have any free time this holiday weekend, and a willing babysitter, or a partner who is as good to you as mine is to me, go see it! It's absolutely worth it.


Blogger shel said...

delurking to comment on this movie. i was wondering how it would be. i read the book and LOVED it. tom perrotta is a fabulous writer and i'm glad to see that his book translated well onto the screen!

i will put this on the list to see!

glad you got to enjoy your solo time!!

10:47 AM  

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