Children Act, The

M 105 mins

About the film

Director: Richard Eyre
Actors: Emma Thompson, Fionn Whitehead, Stanley Tucci
Direct from sold-out sessions at Melbourne International Film Festival 2018 and the British Film Festival, Booker Prize-winning author Ian McEwan (Atonement, On Chesil Beach) makes his return to the big screen with this beautiful, delicately wrought tale starring the always wonderful Emma Thompson and directed by living legend of British cinema, Richard Eyre.

Playing an eminent high court judge, two-time Oscar winner Emma Thompson, turns in another thrilling performance as Fiona Maye, a woman who has dedicated her life to the principles set forth in the 1989 British law known as the Children Act, which protects and prizes the welfare of minors.

Directed by Richard Eyre (Notes On a Scandal, Iris) from a script by McEwan himself, the case in point involves Adam Henry (Fionn Whitehead, making good on the promise of ‘Dunkirk’), a 17-year-old Jehovah’s Witness whose religious parents (Ben Chaplin and Eileen Walsh) argue against a blood transfusion that might save his life.

Adam agrees with them, but, being three months short of his eighteenth birthday, he is also technically a child, and it is thus the responsibility of the court—and of Fiona in particular—to determine what is best.

There are many high-minded themes at play here: faith vs science; the public vs the personal; the law vs family.

And, there are also problems closer to home. Fiona shares a well-appointed apartment with her American professor husband Jack (Stanley Tucci) but her commitment to the law means her marriage is unravelling.

The Children Act is a complex and layered film and Thompson’s beautifully-complex performance is surely award-worthy. You will want to marry Stanley Tucci.

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