Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Little Children, the movie

Excellent movie with strong performances. The insights about surburban social dynamics and tension between two people whose lives essentially preclude their relationship from following its course is near-perfect. I kept worrying that the third line--that of the sex offender returned home--was going to go over the top, but it also seemed well-tuned and human; you could see the emotionally hermetic world he too was locked in. Each of the three threads ended in ways that were foreshadowed early-on, but the filmmakers were careful enough not to tip too much of their hand, so that the ending changed very little outwardly for the core protagonists, while changing everything inwardly.

One down-moment hit when Winslet's character who is apparently ABD says, "My professors would kill me for saying this, but in her own strange way, Emma Bovary is a feminist." Of the writing team--Tom Perotta and Todd Field--who have credit for the screenplay, I have to wonder which one crafted this line. Anyone with passing experience in post-modernist, feminist, post-feminist criticism from intensive English degrees knows that this is actually a standard reading of Bovary. Still, it was the right novel for the moment in the plot.

As cliched as it was the closing lines from the omniscient narrator, another nice nod to Bovary--"You couldn't change the past, but the future could be a different story... but it had to start somewhere."--struck the right chord with me. After all, my one worry when I rented the movie was that it might hit uncomfortably close to home. It did at moments, but this sentiment was well-timed as the plotlines resolved themselves.