Som små barn
(based on the novel by Tom Perrotta):
seeing the explosive In
the Bedroom a few years ago, I was convinced that with
first-time director Todd Field, the business was given a special talent.
I still have that conviction, even though Little Children is a
step back for him. However, he still is daring, insightful and presents
human drama in an absorbing and unique fashion. At its best, Little
Children sucks you in and shakes you. There are a few segments here
that work brilliantly (including the Noah Emmerich character). But not
everything works equally well, such as a lot of the depiction of the
pedophile "sex-offender". What is interesting, is the angle
Field deploys, wanting to awake the ambivalence in the viewer when it
comes to Ronnie, while at the same time lashing out a bit at the way
society treats his kind. However, the character in itself isn't written
well enough. His staged action and dialogue takes away his credibility.
It is nice to see Jackie Earl Haley (Breaking Away) back on the
screen, but he hasn't got the insight to make Ronnie into anything else
than a stereotype (naturally, the Academy won't recognize this - they'll
just applaud the courage).
also encounters problems trying to balance his serious drama with his at
times misplaced comedy - often carried by the indiscrete narrator,
sounding like a remnant from unsuccessfully breeding a 50s sci-fi with romantic pulp literature. This forces many changes in tone and tune that
more often than not feel out of place and unsubtle. Little Children
doesn't flow as easily and naturally as In
the Bedroom - which is the biggest difference between the
two. They both portray intimate, tragic characters and offer brilliant
drama. There's power in this story as well, but by the end of an
exhausting two hours, you're happy to walk out of the cinema being
able to conclude that not every single person you meet is dysfunctional.