Little Children (15)

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The Independent Culture

Field's follow-up to In The Bedroom stars Kate Winslet as a frustrated academic who can't quite believe that she's become one of the suburban mothers who gossip in the park every morning while their children are on the roundabouts. Her husband is less interested in her than in a website featuring "Slutty Kay", so she slips into a friendship with the playground's only dad, Patrick Wilson. And as he's similarly dissatisfied by his marriage to Jennifer Connelly, their friendship slips into an affair. They'd be a source of gossip themselves if the neighbourhood didn't have something juicier to mutter about: a child molester has just been released from prison and is back living in the area.

Up until its drawn-out cop-out of an ending, Little Children is a gripping, grown-up, literary film, which encompasses wry satire and wrenching drama. Mind you, its cynical view of suburbia isn't exactly a new one: by now the secret perversions are almost as much of a cliché as the twitching curtains and the dinner parties.

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