A powerful character study that twists many cinematic conventions and shocks the viewer with disturbing scenes that contrast with the lily-white setting in suburbia. Kate Winslet and Jackie Earle Haley are terrific. Still, something about the movie feels heavy-handed.
Sensationalism and pseudo indie feel helps to sell movies despite a rather inane content, but it doesn't really do anything to me.
The narration causes fatigue and doesn't really contribute to anything important, aside from very brief keen examinations.
Jackie Earle Haley's character should have been explored deeper. He and his mother (Phyllis Sommerville) play the most interesting parts of the whole.
The faux-literary narration giving episodic character evaluations, works wonders. Tackling tough subjects such as infidelity, pornography, paedophilia and loneliness; it's one of the most polemical films not made by Solondz, Haneke or Noe. Suburban dystopia is scrutinised through characters with distinctly opposing ideologies. This film grapples with conservative and liberal solutions to societal issues with skill.
Tales of affluent, suburban ennui are dime a dozen and exhaustingly cliched. However, amidst such cliches found in this film, there are wonderful fragments of narrative, hypnotic uses of aural rhythms and a magnificent cast. Jackie Earle Haley stands above the others, delivering a taut, challenging performance that manages to elicit both empathy and disgust.