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Photo Credit :: Little Children
Arts & Entertainment
Little Children
By Mark Thompson & Robert Doyle
January 23, 2007 
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A cautionary tale if ever there was one—and no, we’re not talking adultery. Something far more soul-wrenching: life in the suburbs. Todd Field’s adaptation of Tom Perrotta’s novel posits the suburbs as a breeding ground for intolerance, isolationism, narrowmindedness, Puritanism—as well as any number of other social ills.

After seeing Little Children, a city dweller’s smugness is almost guaranteed: the film is a veritable cinematic validation of an urbanite’s desire to remain living in a tiny closet-sized apartment, so long as it’s in the city. Because otherwise who could bear the stultifying suburban boredom which causes Kate Winslet’s character to finally break down and buy a—gasp—red bathing suit, in order to bed Patrick Wilson’s character atop the basement washing machine? Then again, who can blame her, given that her husband is hopelessly addicted to internet porn? And the women in her neighborhood are the progeny of Stepford wives and Salem witch-hunters (who, in this film, are hellbent on destroying the neighborhood pedophile).

Using Madame Bovary as a template, Little Children reveals the increasingly thoughtless choices made when overly-privileged people remain trapped in states of arrested development. Hardly anyone in the film seems to be fully mature, or capable of adult decisions, or aware of such a concept as personal responsibility—and in that, Little Children seems a perfect painful metaphor for the current state of the nation. Now if only we could get some of our irresponsible leaders and nefarious CEOs to self-castrate.