Children Of The Neighborhood: In Todd Field's movie, Little Children (R), the focus is on adults and not the noisy little tots who will be the next generation. Kate Winslet plays Sarah Pierce, an unhappy housewife who discovers the handsome "Prom King" father while at the park one day with some other mothers. The "Prom King" father is the dashing and sexy man who makes the other women forget about their dreary days of motherhood. That particular day, Sarah decides to give the women a show and, following a bet, kisses the father and starts up a whole mess of trouble. The other "children" in this tale are Sarah's husband, who likes to sniff "used" undies sent to him in the mail; Brad (the Prom King) who is aiming to take the bar for a third time and hope he passes this time; and Brad's sexy-documentary maker wife, Kathy, who is a workaholic and instead of having sex with her husband let's their son sleep in their bed. There is one other character thrown into the mix, the story that starts this tale: A convicted felon who flashed his privates to an underage child and may or may not have murdered another one. The character of Ronnie J. McGorvey (played by child actor, one of the original Bad News Bears, Jackie Earle Haley) is the boogeyman here and gives the most compelling performance of the movie.
Field directed the Oscar nominated In The Bedroom a few years ago and hasn't lost his touch. What's missing here that was prevalent in the book is the wit of the writing and the characters. The voice over (as if reading a children's story) is a distraction and irritated me and it was very inconsistent, popping up suddenly here and there. These characters are just like children; self-absorbed and unaware. One character, who professes to not be on the committe of Committe for Concerned Parents, but IS the committee is surprised to learn at one point that McGorvey visited the town pool. Yes, for someone who is making it his personal mission to make McGorvey's life a living hell he certainly isn't up on the guy's activities.
The movie is pretty faithful to the book and one of the screenplay writers was the writer himself, Tom Perrotta. There is some tweaking here and there and a newer and more dramatic ending than the bore ending in the book.
Bags of popcorn (out of 5): 3
Best Supp. Actor-Haley
Best Adapted Screenplay