Thanks to Roadshow films for the chance to see ‘The Children Act’ before its national release. This is our review of the movie, but as usual, no matter what we say, we still recommend you to go and see it at your local cinema because there is no better critic than yourself!
Adapted by the Ian McEwen book of the same name, The Children Act stars Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci and Fionn Whitehead.
Thompson plays Fiona Maye, a tough, no nonsense Judge of the High Court of England and Wales. She is tasked with deciding the fate of Adam Henry, a 17 year old Jehovah Witness, dying of leukaemia. His family refuse to let him receive a blood transfusion due to their faith. Maye, strikes up an unlikely friendship with Adam, whose strong beliefs mirror that of his parents. Meanwhile, Fiona’s dedication to her job has but a strain on her marriage to Jack Maye (Stanley Tucci).
The Children Act showcases Emma Thompson at her best. As Fiona Maye, she portrays the emotional complexity and inner turmoil of a women struggling to balance the moral dilemma of the case with the struggles of her marriage. Playing an intelligent, strong and unyielding woman doesn’t seem far removed from the real life actress. Emma Thompson carries the weight of the film deftly and this role stands out as a career highlight.
The film has a solid first act, and a compelling storyline which raises complex questions concerning religion and science. The plot begins to falter during the second half of the film. The story evolves into a melodrama and becomes overly drawn out with unrealistic plot points. In particular, Adam’s growing interest in Fiona doesn’t come off as cute or interesting, instead it becomes downright strange and annoying. If the film’s aim was to realistically convey the bond between Adam and Fiona, it did not succeed.
With strong performances from all cast members, The Children Act does touch on powerful themes of loss, connection, faith and love. Although, due to an underdeveloped story the film falls back into soppy clichés and struggles to get across a strong coherent story.
The Children Act – In Cinemas Now!