Movie Review: The Children Act

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Image Source: Phoenix Leicester

Written By: Carole Bayley

Distributors: A24, DirecTV Cinema and Entertainment One
Production Companies: FilmNation Entertainment and BBC Films
Director: Richard Eyre
Producer: Duncan Kenworthy
Scriptwriter: Ian McEwan
Main Cast: Fionn Whitehead, Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci
Released: August 24 2018
Running Time: 105 Minutes
Certificate: 12A

The film title The Children Act led me to believe this movie would be a strong, emotional and maybe harrowing film about young children and childhood experiences.

It was in fact more about the ethics surrounding religion. Basically Adam (Fionn Whitehead), an intelligent boy of 17 years and 9 months, was very close to the end of his life with leukaemia, and he was refusing a life-saving blood transfusion. He and his parents were Jehovah’s Witnesses, and both his mother and father supported Adam’s decision.

Adam’s case is taken to the High Court and a hearing ensues. The High Court judge, Fiona May (Emma Thomson), insists on meeting the dying boy before she will make a ruling either way. After meeting with him, she rules in favour of the life-saving transfusion, and Adam survives.

Adam then attempts several times to get close to Fiona and is thwarted by her. After becoming an adult, he falls ill again and is able to make his own decision not to accept further intervention. Fiona rushes to his bedside on his final night.

It is a flimsy plot, and is filled with scenes relating to Fiona’s struggling relationship with her husband. He leaves her at the beginning of the film to have a two-day affair, before returning home to try to make amends with his wife.

The film starts off well, briefly introducing us to a case of conjoined twins. But there is just not enough depth in any of the storylines throughout. And there was no definite beginning, middle and end, so I was left at the final scene thinking “was that it?”

Emma Thomson put on a good performance, and she is a super actress, but this film just wasn’t big enough for her. The Children Act is not a must-see in my opinion.

Overall Rating: 5/10 – Average