The Children Act (2017)
- May 31, 2021
The Children Act is an honest to goodness drama that tackles big ideas and exists in the tension where duty collides with family responsibilities and where good sense gives way to sensibilities.
Adapted by Ian McEwan from his 2014 novel of the same name, The Children Act steps into the world of a judge in the Family Division of the High Court of Justice of England. Justice Fiona Maye (Emma Thompson) balances the hefty responsibility of presiding over family court cases that often examine the medical welfare of the child against the family’s religious belief with the responsibility she has to her own family and home life. But it seems one always loses out to the other.
When a particularly high profile case is assigned to her, she withdraws from her home life more as she explore the bounds of her authority and the conflict between belief and science. Deciding on whether to overrule the wishes of a 17 year old cancer patient and his family to provide a life-saving blood transfusion takes Maye on an unusual journey that leads to a personal connection to the child in the case and lasts long after the case is settled.
Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci (portraying Maye’s husband, Jack) are legends and with good reason too. The depth of character and emotion they both bring to the screen is stunning. And what is more stunning is that when on screen together, there is no sense of competition. They seem to enter into this magical space where they each create space for the other to shine. It’s beautiful to see.
The source material is rich with subtle conflict and an authentic approach to real life emotions and situations. Ian McEwan writes beautifully complicated characters and he doesn’t miss a beat translating these characters from book to screen. He weaves in complicated and meaty subplots that compliments the main theme while giving another dimension for the lead actors to explore.
The Children Act is a delicious story that Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci deliver to us flawlessly. It is a meaningful, juicy drama that leaves the viewer deeply satisfied. Set some time aside to savor this well-prepared theatrical offering.
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