Children of Men


Children of Men movie

poster for Children of Men

I just got done watching a really powerful movie called “Children of Men.” It’s directed by Alfonso Cuaron, the director who also did Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban. The movie was based on a book by PD James. Oddly, I found the movie to be more hopeful than the book. I say it’s odd because the movie was so grim.   

The movie is about a world not too far in the future: a possible 2027. People are no longer able to propagate. About 2009, women stopped giving birth or even carrying to full term. The world is in chaos. Britain claims to be the last bastien of peace, even though conflict (bombings, refugees, concentration camps) is rife.This movie was so moving. It was well acted and filmed. The concept is horrible and yet all too possible. The movie never stated what caused the infertility; it did theorize that it might be caused by drugs, pollution, or genetic manipulation. We’re living with those possibilities right now. 

I thought that there was a certain irony in how Kee, the first woman to be successfully pregant in 19 years, was a mass of contradictions: black, refugee, and a prostitute. It’s such a contradiction to our own traditional salvation story. Too often, we become convinced that only people like us and with our beliefs should be saved or could be useful. 

I watched this movie with my friend Ashley. When she saw the concentration camp and the brutality, she asked “why are they killing people when no one can give birth? what if they’re killing the person who could solve the problem?” I totally agree with that. It also made me think of how abortions are performed now–who are we killing? would they have done good? (Of course, they equally could do evil.) We will never know.

I recommend this movie to anyone. It requires a lot from the viewer, but it also gives valuable ideas. Awesome movie.   

***SPOILERS AHEAD*** 

The movie revolves around the experiences of a man, Theo, who used to be an activist. He gave up his idealism when his son died in 2008 from the “Flu Pandemic.” His wife continues to be an activist. She has a request for him now. Her cause’s group needs to get a woman, Kee, to the coast to catch a boat. Why is not yet revealed. He uses his family connections (a cousin high in the government) to get transit passes for the group. He claims he’s doing it for money but it soon becomes apparent that there’s more to him than avarice.

As the group (Theo, his wife, Kee, another woman, and a man) progresses towards the coast, they are accosted by a mob. In the melee, Theo’s wife is killed. The group takes refuge at a safe house. At the safe house, the woman reveals to Theo that she’s PREGNANT. She needs to catch a boat that functions as a sort of ark. It’s called the Human Project and exists outside of any governments’ control. Presumably she will be able to get medical care and live with her child there. Kee trusts Theo because his wife told her too. In the middle of the night, Theo discovers that factions within the group conspired to kill Theo’s wife and capture Kee. 

Theo facilitates their escape. He takes Kee and the other woman, the midwife, to a friend of his. His friend is an ex-hippie who grows weed. His friend has connections and promises to help them get to where they need to go. The boat will come close to shore near Brighton, which is now a concentration camp for refugees. Of course, since his friend’s connection is a cop, it means that they need to be “arrested.” They’re going to flee the country by being locked in a prison! The boat isn’t scheduled to arrive until sundown the next day. They have to survive until then.  

Kee gives birth in the concentration camp. The midwife sacrificed herself so that Kee and Theo could get to safety. In the morning, the cop who helped them get into Brighton arrives. He’s figured out that they’re valuable people. He takes them hostage, but they get away. They run and they run. The city is being attacked by the rebel group and by the police. The poor refugees are stuck in the middle. They run and run. They’re captured by one faction and then the other. Towards the end, they escape from everyone; both groups lay down their guns as they hear a baby cry for the first time in 19 or so years. The cease fire doesn’t last long.   

The movie ends with Kee and Theo and the baby in a row boat in the middle of the ocean. It’s very foggy. You doubt whether the Human Project and the boat even exist. Theo reveals that he was shot; he dies. Then the boat arrives! The movie ends with the sound of shouts and giggles of children; a black screen with only the title “Children of Men” is shown.    

Despite the depressing concept, there were happy moments in the movie. I loved the hippie friend who found hope in the pregnant Kee. It only made his death at the hands of the rebel group that much more heartbreaking though. I enjoyed the relationship between Theo and his (estranged) wife; of course, her death was that much more shocking. I appreciated Theo’s progression from apathy to avarice to hope. I also liked Kee. She was fully aware of the implications of her pregnancy–the hope and how it could be manipulated to advance an agenda.

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About shortlibrarian

I am a woman working in the Twin Cities as a programming Librarian.
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