The Children Act, 7.58/10, is a compelling tale of a battle between morality, law, religious reasoning and affection. One person’s judgment is quite literally life or death with the added pressure of being against the clock. The Children Act is thought-provoking and touching but this maybe solely down to Emma Thompson’s sincere performance.
Director Richard Eyre wastes no time in allowing the audience to see the intensity of the life of Fiona Maye (played by Emma Thompson). The Children Act opens with Maye working late at home on a case over the separation of Siamese twins. Separating one will ultimately kill the other yet not saving one will mean they both die. Instantly, we are shown the severity of her job, her life and the remaining pace of the film.
As the drama continues, Maye has the final say in the case of a 17-year-old boy refusing a blood transfusion due to his religious beliefs as a devout Jehovah’s Witness. However, the Children’s Act protects children up to the age of 18. Being a believer of this religion means that you think human blood is a gift from God and it contains one’s soul. Therefore, mixing it with another human is polluting your body. Judge Maye needs to determine whether the boy’s choice is his own or one enforced by his parents and the church. To aid her decision, she decides to speak to him in person at the hospital but by doing so, her judgement may be clouded. On top of all this chaotic deliberation, her husband drops the bombshell that although still is madly in love with her, he is going to have an affair.
This dilemma will force you to see both sides to the conflicting opinions with even my own opinions switching throughout. Like I mentioned in the opening statement, you are completely engrossed in act one and two, incapsulated by the drama that surrounds Emma Thompson. It is the soft delivery in her dialect that makes the audience hang onto her every word. Sadly, the third act dwindles off into a less engaging subplot which heavily involves the sick boy Adam Henry (played by Fionn Whitehead) – a character I struggled to empathise with – wrongly, I know.
As a whole, I would suggest that this film is worthwhile watch due to its powerful nature which constantly forces you to question your ethics. The Children Act is no well-tuned piano but it certainly delivers a performance you will want to see.
Entertainment (of its genre): 8/10
Overall Rating: 7.58/10