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Art Of Seduction: Little Children (2006)

Updated on April 12, 2015
5 stars for Little Children

Little Children

is a riveting drama on sexual repression and coping with the loss of freedom in life.

The heroine, Sarah Pierce (Kate Winslet), is a neglected woman. The man she shares a bed with could not be further away emotionally and physically. If he is not working long hours in the office, he is locked away in the attic, watching fetish porn. A once proud woman working on a doctorate in English, she suddenly finds herself way off course and marginalized as a stay-at-home wife.

The hero, Brad Adamson (Patrick Wilson), having already failed the bar exam twice and avoiding his third attempt, has convinced his trophy wife he is something he is not. Here is a man that was following the path of his heart and got really scared. The alternative was to sell a lie, marry a woman of means, and figure it out from there. Now he is trapped in a bland marriage, looking out the window at the kids playing in the street.

Like the perfect, cozy homes on the block, Sarah and Brad both are paragons of contentment. They have the white picket fence, the child, and money to afford one spouse to stay at home, but deep inside is a longing for the dream that got away; a reflection in the bathroom mirror that says "what I am doing with my life?"

Basement & Attic

Frequenting the same park with their children, it is not long before Sarah and Brad forge a relationship. On the surface, it is a coincidental relationship, but day after day and week after week it becomes a moment to feel alive, to matter, and to feel important again.

The catalyst, as in Art Of Seduction: Stoker, is a picture of himself he discovers in Sarah's belongings, validating the fire he feels burning in his chest. Most importantly, Brad comes alive. He returns to his instincts and immediately goes after her. He doesn't second-guess fate or look the gift horse in the mouth. He approaches her in the basement, reaches out, and grabs her.

Having to love Brad in secret, Sarah can finally let her defenses down. Her emotional neglect, night after night of eating alone or feelings miles apart in the same home, suddenly finds itself drowned out in moans, groans, and cries. His emotional neglect, night after night of being turned in bed or being emasculated, trickles down the small of his back and splashes onto the dusty, concrete floor. Deep in the basement of this plaid, suburban home, a fire burns brightly.

Literally, the basement is the room below ground. Figuratively, it is the subconscious mind or that inaccessible place we store suppressed impulses and emotions. Their other rendezvous location is the attic. Literally, the space at the top of house. Figuratively, the space where we store things that we are unable to cope with in the now, either planning to deal with them at another time or hoping that they will fade away.


Flaubert's Madam Bovary is brought up in a pivotal scene. The title character marries the wrong man and makes one foolish mistake after the other. She is also trapped and must make a decision. She can either accept a life of misery or choose to struggle against it. And she chooses to rebel, indulging in trysts to escape the emptiness of her life.

Brad and Sarah, marginalized in their relationships, have made the decision to embark on an extramarital affair. While the movie defends their actions out of negligence, it must be noted that neither is willing to have the tough talk with their significant other.

Like their dreams, the lovers have also stopped fighting for their marriages. This deeper truth is the hardest to swallow because we are witnessing two people who are essentially invisible in their respective homes and yet switched on like a Christmas tree when they are together. In their secret hot box, the mask can come off and they are free to be raw and shockingly honest.

Little Children is a tour de force, pulling back the mask of picturesque America and exposing the dissonance between young ambition, jaded realities, and blighted dreams.

'Little Children' Movie Trailer

Book Versus Movie

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© 2013 Oswalda Purcell


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    • Monis Mas profile image

      Aga 4 years ago

      I thought of renting this movie for some time now. No I HAVE to see it. Great review!

    • Oswalda Purcell profile image

      Oswalda Purcell 4 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thank you, Monis! I think it's a treasure.

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 4 years ago from Virginia

      Interesting review. I agree with you about Jackie Earl Haley's is shocking that Kelly from Bad News Bears had this performance in justly received an Oscar nomination for his role. I liked all the performances with the exception of Patrick far I have not seen him in a single performance that I liked....and this movie was no exception.

    • Oswalda Purcell profile image

      Oswalda Purcell 4 years ago from Los Angeles

      I totally agree with you on Patrick Wilson, but consider that physical dynamic he added to the part in Little Children.

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas

      It's been a long time since I read the book. I did watch the movie again fairly recently. I thought it was a good movie, not a great one. I found it to be more about the dangers of judging others than about sexuality. Also, it struck me that Kate Winslet was cast as being "plain". If she is unattractive, what on earth are girls who are actually overweight and not perfect by today's standards supposed to think of themselves?

    • Oswalda Purcell profile image

      Oswalda Purcell 4 years ago from Los Angeles

      Justmesuzzane, you are so right. I wanted to talk about (in the review) how Kate was cast as "plain" when I actually thought the picture made her look quite beautiful, especially the scene after the shower and looking at herself in the mirror.

    • Maria Cecilia profile image

      Maria Cecilia 4 years ago from Philippines

      Congrats nice review you convinced me to give it a try, but this has a book version, I wonder if it is still available....but for sure I will look for this one, I mean the film version... nice to see in another film.

    • Oswalda Purcell profile image

      Oswalda Purcell 4 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thank you, Maria!

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 4 years ago from Iowa

      A very well-written review. I have not seen the movie or read the book but will put it on my list after reading this.

    • Oswalda Purcell profile image

      Oswalda Purcell 4 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thanks, DeborahNevens!

    • profile image

      ExoticHippieQueen 4 years ago

      I have not seen this movie, but after reading your review which carefully and skillfully dissected the movie's components like a stick of string cheese, I am going to look for it at Redbox. Welcome to Hubpages!

    • Oswalda Purcell profile image

      Oswalda Purcell 4 years ago from Los Angeles

      Lol. Thank you, ExoticHippieQueen!!

    • Thief12 profile image

      Thief12 3 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Really liked the film. Good analysis.

    • Oswalda Purcell profile image

      Oswalda Purcell 3 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thanks, Thief12!

    • profile image

      Teariki 3 years ago

      i like it too!!!!!! nice film.

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