Director Todd Fields' new film, Little Children, stars Kate Winslet as a young mom and Patrick Wilson as an at-home dad in a Massachusetts suburb. The film, an adaptation of a novel by Tom Perrota, examines their various unhappinesses and their affair--carried out under the cover of playdates and naptimes--in a way that impressed the heck out of NY Times film critic Tony Scott. It sounds to me like one of the most sophisticated, or complicated portrayals of at-home dads in the movies:
Mr. Wilson’s most striking characteristic in his film roles so far (notably in “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Angels in America”) has been an appealing blankness, which he and Mr. Field have the wit to acknowledge and to subvert. Brad is so obviously blessed by nature and circumstances that he seems, to the playground moms and also in some ways to Sarah, almost unreal, which has the effect of increasing his isolation.Little Children premiers at the NY Film Festival this weekend and opens in NY/LA Oct. 6th.
How could anyone feel sorry for this guy, or believe that his inner life was speckled with unhappiness, or even imagine that he has an inner life? You feel sympathy for Brad precisely because it’s impossible to feel truly sorry for him.