Little Children

Ugh . . . I still don’t know what to make of this film. I walked away feeling queasy, uncomfortable and frustrated. I can’t rightly dismiss it because it reveals such great promise, but Little Children’s bizarrely alchemical mix of earnest melodrama (think Eugene O’Neill) and black comedy/satire (A.M. Homes, Tom Perrota) just didn’t add up for me (imagine Douglas Sirk directing an episode of “Desperate Housewives” and you get the idea). Still, Todd Field can direct. There is this one montage sequence at a local swimming pool that is so beautifully shot and cut; it is easily the most elegantly edited sequence of the year. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Field isn’t afraid to slow things down; he palpably lingers on moments (I’ll never look at Hummel figurines in the same way again) and the way he uses rhythm to generate specific moods is exemplary. Additionally, Field’s confident utilization of long takes and beautifully orchestrated tracking shots as well as his eye for unique and dynamic compositions makes him one of America’s most exciting young filmmakers. He is also generous with actors; each and every performance in the film is bold and exploratory (Phyllis Somerville I’m talking to you). So why didn’t I like the film? Continue reading Little Children