Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Little Children is the most optimistic movie I've ever seen

If you go by its tantalizing trailer, you'd expect a serious freight train of a movie. Instead, Little Children is steady to the point of ploddy, so besieged by tones that it's atonal. It's not bad; it's quite thought-provoking, punctuated by an end that will surely blindside you with its...well, optimism. It's as if Todd Field is atoning for In the Bedroom, which is a far more controlled, penetrating and pessimistic movie about spoiled love. Also, Jennifer Connelly, Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson are the three most attractive people in the world. Alas, none of them are bound for Oscar with these roles. But! FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: Jackie Earle Haley (who has been off the radar since Breaking Away) plays a rather benign sexual predator and is so authentic it's like he really is a sexual predator who wandered onto the set of the movie and they just kept the cameras rolling. I'm pretty sure that was a run-on sentence.

7 comments:

Mimi said...

Good call on saying JC, KW and PW are three of the world's most attractive people. I want a face like Jennifer's, a body like Kate's, and a boyfriend like Patrick. Nice that they're all in one movie.

Alanna said...

PW looks like a Ken doll. That just don't do it for me. KW looked pretty shabby. JC is the most beautiful woman ever. I want to look like either her or Shakira in my next life. And I think KW's performance actually was nomination worthy. I love her.

I felt the ending tied everything up a little too neatly. And yeah, that guy definitely is a real sexual predator. He even has three names, the way that only sexual predators and/or questionably talented starlets do (see: Rachel Leigh Cook, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jennifer Love Hewitt.)

J.J. said...

I agree PW looks like a Ken doll. This, in my mind, does not pose a problem. Also, you should hear him sing. Look on YouTube. Also, I'm glad JC is back to her old eyebrows.

Anything KW does is worthy of praise, but this role is not what Oscar likes. It's too indefinite. It's an anti-Oscar performance. Or, an anti-performance. Yet I know exactly which award clip should play if she does make it to the ceremony (the one during which she appraises Madame Bovary without theatricality but with extreme gravity).

The end is good simply because it is affecting. [SPOILERS AHEAD] I was expecting some sort of American Beauty-ish denouement, in which someone has to get shot. I'm glad it sidestepped this easy out. However, I was disappointed by a small but crucial plot point. I would've *loved* the ending if PW had left the note for his wife, instead of being able to get rid of it. That way, he still would've had to face that shit when he came to his senses in the hospital, even though he obviously didn't intend to go through with it (as evidenced by the skateboarding detour). I envisioned him waking up, groggily pleading for the warm embrace of his wife, as she stands over him, enraged by the letter but touched that his first thoughts go to her. Maybe I'm missing something.

Also, I forgot to mention Noah Emmerich. After years of playing fourth banana, he finally has a character he can sink his teeth into, even if the sinking comes across awkwardly. His was my least favorite character.

Alanna said...

Noah's characterwas a little too obvious, or something. I agree with you on the letter - I was surprised and disappointed to find he had never left it for JC. What great fallout that would have been.

J.J. said...

Also, my thoughts on the third-person voiceover narration, which made the theater roar with laughter but which left me generally nonplussed: It reminded me of a dispassionate but amused narrator in a high-school biology video. "Notice how the ants carry back an orange peel 10 times their wait. They are hungry. Nothing will stop them from bringing it back to the hill, posthaste." And this is, to some extent, how the film viewed its characters: scientifically, with regard only for their actions and habits, not emotions and desires.

P.S. I loved how the two women in the film are giant screen stars and the two men are Broadway venerables.

Middento said...

JJ: Having seen the film today, I completely agree with you on virtually all levels -- from the three leads being BPs galore and espeically Haley's performance. (I thought his mother was pretty amazing as well.) Much about it was pat, but I thought that brought something to the generally clinical atmosphere that envelops the film. To be sure, I actually thought Brad had left the note -- and so was surprised that he still had it on him. (Why write it and sneak out, if you're not going to leave it? Shmoe.) Still, quite the flick.

wharman said...

I'll consult my AP Stylebook to see about the run-on. I loved In the Bedroom, so I'll have to check this flick out as well.