"You Can’t Change the Past, But You Can Change the Future"
LITTLE CHILDREN is a droll satire of suburban life in America, about an adulterous affair, a convicted sex offender, and a troubled retired policeman haunted by a tragic event in his past. LITTLE CHILDREN is superbly acted and directed, but its positive, slightly redemptive ending is spoiled by a Godless worldview, a dark image of America, strong foul language, explicit nudity, and graphic sexual content.
LITTLE CHILDREN is a droll satire of modern suburban life in America. It is about the foibles, untamed sexual lusts, and unfulfilled destinies of the Americans who populate suburbia. Although it ultimately has a moral perspective on aspects of its story, the movie ultimately presents a dark and Godless vision of American life, in a similar, but less politically correct, fashion to AMERICAN BEAUTY.
Kate Winslet stars in the movie as Sarah Pierce, an intellectual married to a marketing expert named Richard. Sarah and Richard have a disobedient 3-year-old daughter, Lucy. Sarah looks down her nose at the three “judgmental” suburban mothers who share park time with her and Lucy. Sarah doesn’t think the women are very bright, especially when one of them says that the convicted sex offender, Ronnie McGorvey, who’s moved into their neighborhood should be castrated. Ronnie was convicted of exposing himself to some children and/or teenagers, but has been released after two years. The women are also “judgmental” about Brad Adamson, a young unemployed father who suddenly returns to the park with his son, Aaron, in tow.
Another women bets Sarah $5 that Sarah can’t get Brad’s phone number. Sarah takes her up on that bet, but instead of trying to get Brad’s number, she tells Brad that the women have been talking about him behind his back. Instead of asking for his number, Sarah asks him to kiss her. Brad does, and it sends the three women into a dither.
Sarah and Brad begin to pine secretly for one another. They don’t do anything about their feelings, however, until Sarah discovers her husband visiting an Internet porn site and masturbating. Sarah learns that Brad is also frustrated with his own marriage to Kathy. Brad has also started playing in a football league with some local policemen, including retired cop Larry Hedges, who has been leading the campaign to get Ronnie to move away.
As the affair between Sarah and Brad heats up, the movie tells viewers about Ronnie, who is living with his mother, May, a long-time neighborhood resident. May desperately tries to interest Ronnie into going out on dates with women his own age, but Ronnie seems resigned to his fate as a man addicted to having sexual feelings toward children. May’s concern and love for her troubled son shines forth despite that.
LITTLE CHILDREN moves along at a brisk pace. It is also superbly acted by, in addition to Kate Winslet, Patrick Wilson, Jennifer Connelly, Jackie Earle Haley, and Noah Emmerich. The end credits, however, contain a beautiful symphonic piece that should have been used more often during the actual story.
LITTLE CHILDREN ultimately doesn’t sugarcoat Ronnie’s deviant desires. It also sides against adultery at the end, though the question remains in doubt until the end, when the movie concludes, “You can’t change the past. The future is a different story. You have to start somewhere.” Thus, the movie’s ending reaches a slightly redemptive conclusion.
This positive, uplifting conclusion, however, occurs within a humanist, Godless worldview. The movie’s worldview also has a very dark view of American suburban life, though perhaps not quite as dark as the view in AMERICAN BEAUTY. Furthermore, the movie tries to generate sympathy for a sex offender and derision for people who make harsh judgments about such crimes. On the other hand, the movie’s ultimate position on sin and morality is that everyone is guilty of something and everyone should do the right thing, though, like most humanist and atheist positions, it offers few solid or reasonable guidelines about the subject.
LITTLE CHILDREN also contains plenty of strong foul language, explicit nudity and graphic sexual content. None of the characters are really punished for their sexual immorality. Their wounds are mostly self-inflicted.
(H, B, APAP, FR, LLL, VV, SSS, NNN, A, D, MM) Light humanist worldview comes to a slightly moral and redemptive conclusion (but without God) and with a dark view of American suburban life, plus an antinomian, or lawless, slightly sympathetic attitude about a man convicted of exposing himself to children, although it is clear that the man’s voyeuristic, exhibitionistic lusts are incapable of being cured, but there is no indication in the story that the man has ever carried out his inclinations of pedophilia, and the movie tries to arouse sympathy for pedophile’s mother who tries to help her son overcome his evil sexual lusts; at least 27 mostly strong obscenities (including some “f” words), 11 strong profanities and 17 light profanities; some strong, mostly implied violence, including implied self-castration with blood on underwear, intense arguing, woman rushed to hospital, woman has chest pains, and rough football action; depicted adulterous intercourse, implied adulterous intercourse, depicted scenes of masturbation, depicted voyeurism, talk about man being convicted of exposing himself to children and/or teenagers, married man looks lustfully at nude photos on Internet, man receives panties from porn site and puts them on his face, briefly depicted transvestitism to make a joke about people, mention of anal sex, and implied anal sex; shots of upper female nudity, rear male nudity, upper male nudity, and photo of full frontal male nudity in posed picture on pornographic Internet site; alcohol use; smoking; and, lying, snobbery, gossip, harassment rebuked, apparently liberal attitude toward crime and punishment, implied attacks on and flaunting of traditional morality (though hard to pin down at times because movie is relatively noncommittal), and man is nostalgic toward his youth which causes him to take unnecessary risks.
LITTLE CHILDREN is a droll satire of suburban life in America. It is about the foibles, untamed sexual lusts, and unfulfilled destinies of the Americans who populate suburbia. Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson play Sarah and Brad, a couple that engages in a steamy, adulterous affair. Jackie Earle Haley plays a mousy, scary-looking guy named Ronnie, convicted of exposing himself to some children. Ronnie is harassed by a retired cop named Larry. Noah Emmerich plays Larry, who befriends Brad and gets Brad involved in a rough football league that affects Brad’s marriage with Kathy and his relationship with Sarah. Jennifer Connelly plays Kathy, Brad’s wife, and Gregg Edelman plays Sarah’s Internet sex-addicted husband, Richard.
LITTLE CHILDREN moves along at a brisk pace and is superbly acted. A slightly redemptive ending overtly asserts that, although people can’t change the past, they should change the future for the better. This ending, however, is placed in a humanist, Godless worldview that offers a somewhat dark view of American suburban life. No one is really punished for their sins; their wounds are self-inflicted. LITTLE CHILDREN also contains plenty of strong foul language, explicit nudity and graphic sexual content.