I first read P.D.James’ dystopia novel when it came out some years ago, but only got around to watching Children of Men over the weekend. For those who are unfamiliar with the story, it is set in Britain in 2027 when the human race has been infertile for eighteen years. James, (who is a committed conservative Anglican) elaborates on the direction of a human race that cannot have children, and so sheds light on the current culture of death in a very powerful way.
Children of Men
The film makers pick up on James’ rather introspective novel and have turned it into a powerfully bleak and exciting film. The full results of infertility are shown. The world has disintegrated into nihilistic violence, rage and despair. Suicide drugs are on the market and violent gangs are on the streets. The movie is filmed in pale, washed out colors hinting that human life is washed out and on the wane.
Then the hero discovers that a girl is pregnant and he has to get her to safety. The plot line itself is not that riveting. It is a bit episodic and predictable. However, the characters and the themes carry this film. It is a visual parable of where the culture of death leads. The grim story line carries hope at the end as we see the tender joy of the hardened soldiers and the embattled immigrants as they realize that a child is born, and there is hope.
Children of Men is not a movie for the squeamish. Rated ‘R’, it has very visceral images of violence, rough language and one of the most realistic scenes of childbirth I’ve seen. Nevertheless, it is a thoughtful, unforgettable, disturbing, tender hearted and astounding film for older teenagers and above. It would also make a very strong starting point for a pro life discussion during the forty days for life.