Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. Unnervingly good, Little Children is one of the rare American films about adultery that feels right--dangerous, hushed, immediate.
  2. 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.
  3. Reviewed by: Don R. Lewis
    90
    While the screenplay for Little Chilldren is basically perfect, it's the acting that really drives the film home.
  4. The movie is one of the few films I can think of that examines the baffling combination of smugness, self-abnegation, ceremonial deference and status anxiety that characterizes middle-class Gen X parenting, and find sheer, white-knuckled terror at its core.
  5. Built from a perfect story-telling collaboration.
  6. 91
    Like "In the Bedroom," the film is studded with brilliant acting, and it's all rendered with gorgeously fluent technique. The result is a film that skirts cruelty and easy satire for deep, troubling realities -- a nearly thorough triumph, in short.
  7. 88
    The rarest of movies - a literary multi-character drama. From the erudition of the voiceover narrative to the three dimensionality of the characters, Field's film is the closest it's possible to get to a book without reading one.
  8. 88
    This unnervingly funny and quietly devastating film -- director Todd Field's first since his smash 2001 debut with "In the Bedroom" -- pulls you in like a magnetic-force field.
  9. Perrotta and Field succeed, not by guessing, but by knowing this world. They understand it enough to see it with cold precision -- and to approach it, at times, with disarming warmth. The characters aren't types, but people.
  10. It's as absorbing as a train wreck, and its brand of heavy drama is so rare in movies these days that everything about it seems amazingly fresh.
  11. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    90
    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.
  12. 90
    The result is a movie that is challenging, accessible and hard to stop thinking about...But in too many recent movies intelligence is woefully undervalued, and it is this quality -- even more than its considerable beauty -- that distinguishes Little Children from its peers.
  13. 90
    A sharply intelligent and affecting view of suburban blues.
  14. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    100
    Once again, Field has crafted and grown-up movie that grabs you by the throat, drags you in and doesn't let you go until the very bitter end.
  15. A hugely absorbing social drama that is, by turns, excruciating, sad and sardonic.
User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 149 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 50 out of 63
  2. Negative: 9 out of 63
  1. Jun 11, 2013
    8
    This is how you make a drama. The director's very keen way of portraying everything is quite spectacular. It is deeply thought provoking, chilling, funny, and quite scary at times thanks to the wonderful performances by the cast. Full Review »
  2. Jun 2, 2013
    8
    For a film that is well over 2 hours in length, Little Children never collapses under the many characters, emotions, and themes it presents. Solid film; well acted. Good lead performances from Winslet (as usual) and Wilson, and some really good supporting roles for Jennifer Connelly and Jackie Earl Haley. Full Review »
  3. Dec 21, 2012
    0
    The subplots are unbelievably generic, and not even done in an original way. Jackie Earle Haley's plotline is the most interesting, but as the movie progresses, it becomes sympathetic to the pedophile, and the movie's overall message seems to be about acceptance, even for someone like that. Apart from that, the acting is very overrated, even from Kate Winslet, who I usually love. Normally, I would just think this is an ordinary, annoyingly generic movie, worthy of maybe a three or a four. However, the idea of the pedophile being portrayed as a sympathetic character, and that those who deride him are considered villains, cause this movie to be an easy zero for me. Full Review »