Saturday, January 6, 2007

January 6th Log

2006, Todd Field, United States
1st Viewing, Theater

Little Children begins with a series of close-up shots of porcelain dolls, which seem to be an expression of the material objects we cling towards. Such is the world of writer-director Todd Field, who follows up his outstanding debut (2001’s In the Bedroom) with a similarly (though inferior) community drama. As he did with his debut, Field presents this film with a heavy dose of symbolic visuals (some obvious, others very mysterious). Field also leaves room interpretations from the audience. He wants the viewer to discuss the possibilities and ideas of the film and the characters. Little Children does not capture the thought-provoking depth that In the Bedroom did, and though the film is occasionally contrived and even uncertain of tone, it remains engrossing. You absorb into these characters because they are so well drawn out, and they are portrayed with top-notch performances. Field began as an actor and his trust in them is evident, as everyone is terrific (of course, Kate Winslet is a specific highlight). The film is structured with several narratives that eventually intersect. There is a voice-over throughout the film, which I believe is used to create an ironic fable-atmosphere to this film of suburban boredom and lost souls search for meaning. It is a fix of melodrama, sadness, compassion, and humor that effectively tells an absorbing tale of characters and their flaws. I think I prefer the promotion trailer of Little Children (which is one of the very best I have ever seen), but this feature is a solid sophomore work from Field.


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