Little Children – Review

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Sarah (Kate Winslet) takes her daughter Lucy (Sadie Goldstein) to the local park in her suburban Boston neighbourhood. When the other mothers start ogling Brad (Patrick Wilson), an attractive father who takes his son Aaron (Ty Simpkins) to the same park, Sarah sets herself the challenge of getting one up on the others by actually going to chat to him.

Soon, they – like their children – strike up a friendship. Unlike the children, their friendship goes a little deeper than it ought to, given that their both married – albeit unhappily.

All this is happening against the backdrop of a paedophile, being released from prison, moving back in with his mother, and facing the wrath of local vigilantes.

As form dictates, the two main storylines intertwine throughout, with inevitably tragic consequences.


This is an intelligent drama about infidelity and society’s attitude towards the rehabilitation of offenders. The two might seem like strange bedfellows, but they actually fit together oddly well.

Infidelity seems to be featuring in a growing number of films these days – fellow London Film Festival participant and imminent release Breaking and Entering and the recent The Last Kiss among them – but the controversy over how society deals with paedophiles rarely makes it to the big screen, and here, Todd Field handles a difficult subject intelligently and with understanding.

The leading performances can’t be faulted, giving an air of authenticity to the relationships – although on a personal level, I find it impossible to think that anyone who’s married to Jennifer Connelly would give her up for anyone – even Kate Winslet!

And it’s Connelly’s supporting turn that perhaps comes across as being the most believable, particularly in the scene where she discovers what’s going on behind her back.

The first two acts of the film form a smart, intricately woven and powerful drama, but it begins to fall apart a little towards the end.

The paedophile storyline necessarily comes to a downbeat – although not dramatically satisfying – end and the way the film concludes the affair between Sarah and Brad is so incongruous, it makes you want to throw your popcorn at the screen.