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Little Children Review

Movies.com Critics

2.5

Dave White Profile

… most annoying … Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0
    75

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    Unnervingly good, Little Children is one of the rare American films about adultery that feels right--dangerous, hushed, immediate.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Mr. Field is a filmmaker with an exceptional gift for directing actors -- he's an actor himself -- and an eye for telling detail. (His cinematographer here, as in the previous film, is Antonio Calvache, and again the images are quietly sumptuous.) Yet I was put off by Little Children's satiric tone.

  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Little Children maintains much of the power, humor and nuance of Tom Perrotta's wonderful novel, but seems unsure if it's a satire or a serious drama.

    Read Full Review

  • 90

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    Providing richness of detail and metaphor, elegantly blueprinted themes and impressive mastery of a constantly shifting tone, Little Children does just that. It is a deeply satisfying film.

    Read Full Review

  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    A jolting, artfully made drama set in and around a suburban playground somewhere between "American Beauty" and "In the Bedroom" on America's psychic highway.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Little Children reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

not for kids

Mature story of suburban fear and yearning.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this thought-provoking drama from the director of In the Bedroom probably won't be on most kids' radar. Just as well, since it includes some very mature images and ideas, including Internet porn and masturbation, adulterous sex and lies to spouses, child abuse (discussed, not shown), self-mutilation (off-screen, but with visible bloody results), and loud, intense football action. There are repeated references to a child predator who's been released from prison (neighbors campaign against him, TV reports discuss the case, parents go into a frenzy at a public pool when he shows up); he's also the center of a very disturbing scene in which he masturbates while his blind date cries helplessly, sitting next to him in her car. There are also several sweaty sex scenes between an adulterous couple, with nudity (bottoms and breasts), though these tend to be more "romantic" than explicit. Several uses of "f--k," plus other mild profanity.

  • Families can talk about the relationships between adults and children throughout the movie. Who are the "little children" of the title -- the kids or their parents? How do the adults look after their kids but also leave them vulnerable? How do the adults behave like children themselves? Why do you think Sarah and Brad are so dissatisfied with their lives? When does their relationship cross the line? Is the movie out to humanize Ronnie McGorvey, condemn him, or some of both? Do you think the characters overreact to having him in their midst, or is their fear justified?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Characters lie and commit adultery; a central storyline involves a convicted pedophile recently released from prison and harassed by neighbors (including graffiti on sidewalk and house); consequently, there's much discussion of pedophilia and the violent neighborhood tactics to punish him; adults tend to treat their children as accessories while behaving like children themselves.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: A few football scenes are hard-hitting (sound and images); a man mutilates himself off-screen (with very bloody on-screen results); an elderly woman suffers heart failure during an argument; a fall off of a skateboard jump leaves a man in a neck brace; discussion of a past shooting.

  • sex false5

    Sex: Adulterous affair includes sexual activity and some nudity (including bottoms and breasts); intercourse on a washing machine, on the floor, in a bed; a character visits an Internet porn site and masturbates with a pair of panties on his face.

  • language false3

    Language: Several uses of "f--k," plus other profanity.

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: Labels and brands glimpsed and/or mentioned include Porsche, FedEx, Goldfish crackers, Vanity Fair magazine, and Dunkin' Donuts.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Cigarette smoking and some social drinking; one character discusses her "mostly psychotropic" medications.

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