I try not to review too many films on this blog, but I find myself needing to discuss certain aspects of Todd Field's "Little Children." I found his first hit film "In the Bedroom" quite overrated--it seemed absolutely appropriate for ABC Sunday Night Movie programming but not for Oscar consideration (and neither Tom Wilkinson's stoicism or Sissy Spacek's melodrama helped that cause). I felt differently about "Little Children," though. Kate Winslet's portrayal of a woman learning how to become the woman she'd like to be--to say nothing of Jackie Earle Haley's return to cinema as a sex offender one can actually feel for--absolutely keep the narrative churning at high octanes. I wasn't so much a fan of how the movie began with a third-person voice-over--though the opening sentences weren't terribly disturbing, the film's closing commentary, which tells one how to think about the story that has just been told, isn't necessary--but it did lead me to explore a section of the novel by Tom Perrotta on which the film is based. And guess what? I found the book absolutely unremarkable. In the first few pages, Perrotta quickly goes dime-store-meta and references both the Farelly Brothers and the film American Beauty. Which shouldn't be necessary in a book that roasts suburban disillusionment. And let's be honest: How many readers are going to understand those references in fifty to a hundred years. I liked a comment Ian Parker recently made about Christopher Hitchens in a recent New Yorker article. He reminded us that everything Hitchens writes, regardless of its pro-war buffoonery, is written to be read after the writer has passed. I appreciate a writer who thinks about his words this way (let's forget I'm speaking about Hitchens specifically). I say if you're going to make literature, why not take that approach? Usually I find that movies made from books fail the narratives they adapt. In this case (and yes, Tom Perrotta played a hand in "Little Children's" script), I think the movie is far more eloquent. Without the voice-overs.