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:: Little Children

From the title, you could be mistaken for thinking that this is a simple and perhaps light-hearted kid’s film. Far from the truth, Little Children takes the viewer on an extraordinary ride, which includes pedophilia, murder, adultery and much more. The unique, deep and smooth voice of the narrator sets the scene for the complex film to come, which settles the viewer in with compassionate comments and jokes, easing them in for rough rollercoaster that they are about to embark on.

The film tells the story of many characters – one of which is Sarah (Kate Winslet) a non-typical suburban house-wife, stuck in a world where all mothers are caring, faithful, materialistic and beautiful. The fair, red-headed, clumsy Sarah feels different and is excluded in the quiet and leafy suburban playgroun d, where the mothers take their children everyday to play. She is searching for something to escape from her world and her husband who she finds jerking off to an internet porn website, Slutty Kay. Her escape route comes in the form of Brad (Patrick Wilson), a stay at home dad. The other mothers call Brad ‘the prom-king’ behind his back and have taken him on to form part of their made-up fantasy lives.

Sarah’s strong desire to escape the other mothers’ horrid company drives her to seek his attention and it turns out that he desperately needs hers as well. Brad is under constant pressure from his beautiful wife Carrie to pass his lawyer’s test, and wishes more than anything that he could’ve stayed a teenager forever. He seems to be searching for a deeper meaning to life – just like Sarah. They find comfort in each other’s arms, eventually entering a dangerously emotional and sexual affair – just waiting for a disaster to happen.

Amidst this plot – Ronnie – a pedophile, moves into the quiet neighborhood, beside the playground and things start to turn ugly. Ronnie, perhaps, is one of the more interesting characters in Little Children, because you are not allowed a glimpse into his personal life, until you see how the residents of the town treat him. He is subjected to harassment, isolation and attacks in the middle of the night, in particular by another interesting character, Larry, who becomes obsessed with making sure the man is tortured to the brink of insanity.

It is hard not to sympathise with Ronnie, who suffers from a sexual obsession that he wishes for a cure from - more than anything in the world. And in a town where everyone avoids him like a plague – his loving mother Terry is his only fan and protector. The mother and son’s performances are both chilling and compassionate and bring a fascinating element to the film.

Whether it is the search for youthfulness, the refusal to grow-up, or the desire for your mother’s love, there are many little children in this brilliant film who need looking after. Little Children is a film that will stay in your mind - long after the credits are finished. The film challenges viewers to search for its exact meaning, of which perhaps there are many, and will vary for individuals. Film-goers will be disturbed, unnerved, laugh and cry - all in the one film.