The Children Act (2017)

The Children Act
Director: Richard Eyre
Writer: Ian McEwan
Based on: his own novel
Cast: Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, Fionn Whitehead, Rosie Cavaliero, Ben Chaplin
Seen on: 20.9.2018

Fiona (Emma Thompson) is a judge who lives for her work. Her husband Jack (Stanley Tucci) has been fully supportive of that – so far. But he doesn’t want things to continue as they are. Fiona can’t deal with that revelation as she’s just taken on a new case about Adam (Fionn Whitehead), a teenager just shy of his 18th birthday refusing a blood transfusion for religious reasons – a transfusion that he needs to survive. Fiona has to decide whether he should be forced to have the transfusion despite his wishes. The only way to speak with him personally is if she visits him in the hospital – a visit that has a profound impact on both her and Adam.

The Children Act is a well-done film that tells an emotional story. It was a good film, but I think my favorite part of watching it were the reactions of the school class who watched it in the cinema with me.

The film poster showing Emma Thompson as a judge in court.

The Children Act is rather positve for a McEwan story, but still pretty depressing. I haven’t read the novel this is based on but since McEwan adapted it to the screen himself, I assume that the adaptation is pretty close to the source material. Be that as it may, it is definitely a good film.

It’s an actor’s film, character-driven and wordy, but also a film that knows when it’s enough to show a small gesture that can speak volumes. In any case, with a cast like Thompson, Tucci and even Whitehead, it’s hard not to lay the focus there. They are really wonderful together. Especially Thompson and Tucci are a dream come true.

Emma Thompson in the film.

While I was emotionally invested in the film on its own, I have to admit that my enjoyment of it was definitely heightened by the school class who was with me. Usually a bunch of 16-year-olds in the theater is almost the worst thing that can happen, but in this case, they were so absoutely involved in the film, it was fantastic. Their shocked gasps at just all the right moments made everything that much better.

But even if they hadn’t been there, I think I would have still enjoyed the film. It’s just really solid in its execution from acting to soundtrack and has interesting characters. The ending did lay like a stone in my stomach, too, which is not necessarily a good thing, but shows that the film did have an effect on me, even if I didn’t connect with it absolutely deeply.

Stanley Tucci and Emma Thompson in the film.

Summarizing: Good.

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