Analog Thoughts on a Digital Age

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Movie Review: "Little Children" (2006)



I have seen a good number of the currently nominated films for the upcoming Academy Awards, you know to try and see who really has the handicap for winning. I have realized that. Among the current nominations, great movies as they are (a great crop of movies compared to last year's and the year before that, even), probably one of the best and most affecting movies of the bunch was not even included in the Best Picture roster. Boys and girls, I bring you Little Children.

Little Children ironically a movie about adults. The way they behave, and they way they are supposed to behave. It is clear throughout the movie that every character in the film has a quirk or special something that makes him or her a little less like normal person. All this is captured in an wonderfully crafted piece of atmospheric filmmaking by Todd Field (In The Bedroom). Now I haven't seen In The Bedroom yet, and I'm beginning to regret that I didn't. But if you enjoyed Sam Mendes' American Beauty as I did, or any of Korean filmmaker, Kim Ki Duk's movies, you will definitely enjoy Little Children.

Sarah Pierce (Kate Winslet) is a bored housewife with a Master's degree with a daughter she constantly ignores and a husband with a penchant for keeping to himself in front of the computer (hmm). Brian Adamson (Patrick Wilson) is married to a busy film documentary maker (Jennifer Connely) and has never passed the bar exam after 2 previous attempts, his third try is just around the corner and he doesn't think he likes to take it anymore. Sarah and Brian meet at the kid's playground one day and begin a mutually beneficial friendship of filling each other's gaps in their lives. At this point, we all know they are gonna get 'bizzay'.

On the other hand, Ronnie McGorvey (Jackie Earle Haley) just got out of prison for indecent exposure. A registered sex offender, his return to the neighborhood became a concern for this community of young families.



I can't get over how good Jackie Earle Haley is in this movie. He is currently nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, and IMHO, deserves to win. What a performance! He got the sex-offender role down to a T, it's scary. He also made Ronnie a real person. All sex offenders are in a way, monsters. But he also makes us feel sorry for him, not in a "he's-gonna-rot-in-hell-I feel-sorry-for-him" way, but in a wounded puppy sort of way. How did he pull this off? Talent, my friend.
Equally compelling to his role is the road he took to get the role. We haven't heard of Jackie Earle Haley before right? Well, it turns out that he used to be a child actor and was in the cast of the original Bad News Bears.

Jackie Earle Haley's history leading up to this role is pretty amazing. He started out as a child star, he was in TV commercials at 6 years old, was in the original Bad News Bears and played side by side with a young Dennis Quaid in Breaking Away. But then like a lot of child stars he lost work as he aged. People in the know in Texas knew where to find him, they would call for pizza, he delivered it for quite a while in that state. He also worked as a security officer, limo driver and a furniture refinisher. Life was starting to take on a different but nicer turn for him when he started to direct commercials and such for a local cable station when someone in Hollywood finally remembered his talent and gave him a call.
When Haley saw the script he knew he had to play the role and he also knew that he was going to have to do something huge to win the producers over. So, he made a 20 minute film focusing on the life of his character. The production value on it was so good that when this story was told at a local SAG screening Q and A, the director joked that he was worried when he watched it that he might be out of a job. Luckily all Haley wanted was to act, so he was cast.


I dont know when they will be showing Little Children here, I just hope they (when I say they I mean the MTRCB) wont be buthcering it like the did Babel.



Rocketboy's Rating ***** (5 stars)

Props to TheMovieblog

2 Comments:

Blogger hedbeats said...

Welcome back to your world, Paul.

3:18 PM

 
Blogger the rocketboy said...

Yep. My world is full of nice wonderful, beautiful things. And a lot of things to worry about as well.

5:38 PM

 

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