Yesterday I entered the Twilight Zone and found parts of my life in a movie: I went to see Little Children in one of my fav theaters in Cleveland. I went to see the movie because I had read it was good and because Patrick Wilson (one of the most beautiful men I've seen in movies in years, or at least according to my omnivorous taste in men) was in the movie and he apparently got it on with Kate Winslet in a very torrid scene that had made the rounds in the blogs late last year. And the story seemed very interesting. So I dragged him to the theater and sat down with a chocolate bar and an open mind to see the movie.
The first indication of the surprises to come were the complex characters and the stabs to make an exploration of human nature. This movie touches on sexuality, relationships, desire, human nature and the bond between parents and children. Sex, as the motor that keeps some relationships going or as the source of dissatisfaction
in a relationship that seems to have all the ingredients to function (beauty and desire are NOT a pre-requisites for good sex or good relationships if they are not appreciated or channeled). The human predisposition to attack what we desire but cannot have is present here and the uniformity of bourgeois life and its traps is glimpsed.
Kate Winslet is awesome as the housewife with an incomplete M.A. in Literature and Patrick Wilson (the stay-at-home dad) is the 'prom king' who seems to have it all to 'succeed' but cannot seem to be able to get off the ground (or get off until he meets Kate's character). As two apparently lost souls they bond in manners that had me wondering about relationships, faithfulness and passion.
They were a compound of me in different stages of my life: the partner in a relationship who could not get his act together and had huge fights about his future with his partner, the dissatisfied partner who in a very Madame-Bovary style looks for satisfaction outside his relationship only to discover that the whole thing with somebody else was just not true love or a true relationship. It stung to the core. Funny, how somebody can put your life on screen and you just watch and nod and gasp and blush to yourself. But it also makes you think that not everybody around you is as perfect as they seem: your friend who is a banker with lots of money and a disposable boyfriend, the handsome computer programmer with an older husband and a harness, the horny college boy with a big dick and the attention span of a hummingbird, the older party boy with a non-attractive but rich boyfriend. They all have their little children inside. They all live slightly imperfect lives beneath the perfect surface. I hopefully come off as flawed as I am, but who knows, some of them should have me pegged for the spitfire I partially am and nothing more.
At the end the two characters go back to their spouses, making me feel somehow that resigning yourself to your destiny is the best way to stay alive, that dreams and fantasies are better left at the level they can breathe their ethereal air and never to be brought to earth with all its dirtyness, pettyness and flaws.
Still, I so wanted to be Kate's character when Patrick was nailing her on top of the washing machine I felt almost ashamed. Such is the power of forbidden desire. And we have all felt it, don't you think? Even when our partner is sitting right next to us in a dark movie theater.