Plot: Sarah and Richard are in an unhappy marriage. Brad and Kathy are in their own unhappy marriage. Sarah is double-dog-dared by the other moms (creepy moms) at the park to get Brad's phone number. She does and in subsequent weeks, the two get closer and closer. Finally, on a rainy afternoon following the local pedophile's visit to the public pool, they decide to do the nasty. They do it, several times, sometimes while appliances are watching. Ex-cop Larry (yet another quality Larry in popular culture) has a personal vendetta with the local pedophile and leads a campaign to drive him out of town.
This was a really difficult movie to watch with a myriad of difficult and/or creepy scenes. I actually felt a little uncomfortable watching the dynamics between these characters. That was probably the point, so I guess director Todd Field was very successful. For whatever reason, by the way, I would have guessed that this was directed by a woman, but I've never known any women named Todd. The tone's consistently pessimistic, and there's not really a good guy in sight. The relationships between the sets of spouses are troubling. Brad and Sarah's adulterous relationship always seems a bit off (and is creepy with their kids always in close proximity), more cheap thrills or convenience territory than anything resembling love. Everything the ex-cop does is disturbing. And creepy pedophiles are really no good. This movie seems to be exploring the hypocrisy of suburbia and white middle class folk, and like a lot of contemporary movies that this sort of reminded me of that I didn't really like as much (Crash), it succeeds in making you point your finger at the characters and their dubious actions while simultaneously thinking about the shape of your own soul. And you get to see Kate Winslet naked again! I liked Jackie Earle Haley in his comeback role as the creepy pedophile although it's one of those characters that almost seems too easy. 1) Be thin. 2) Be balding. 3) Move awkwardly. 4) Win critical acclaim! That scene at the pool was especially chilling, as was a shocking finale, even though I saw it coming from a mile away with the (repeated?) mention of a key word early on. Strangely, a scene in which Winslet's character shows up surprisingly at one of Brad's late-night football games creeped me out even more though. Perhaps I'm missing something, but a lot of the dialogue and interactions with the characters didn't feel all that realistic, and I was left unfulfilled by the ending. Still, this troubling drama does a great job at holding a cracked mirror up to a fractured society. And, in case I didn't mention it, Kate Winslet's naked again.
I realize I used some variation of "creepy" in this a lot, but I'm not sure it can be overused in describing a movie like this. Cory recommended it. He's not really all that creepy.