The Children Act (12A)
UK/2018/105mins/12A. Dir: Richard Eyre. With: Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci
Even as her marriage to Jack founders, widely admired High Court judge Fiona Maye has a life-changing decision to make at work, namely: should she force Adam, a 17-year-old with leukaemia, to have the blood transfusion that will save his life against his parents’, and perhaps his, beliefs? To the court’s surprise, Judge Maye decides to see Adam in hospital before delivering her verdict. But this unorthodox move will have profound ramifications both professionally and personally, as her visit stirs new emotions in the boy and long-buried memories in her. Immaculately directed and written by Ian McEwan from his own novel, meticulously calibrated, this restrained and nuanced drama is in many ways reminiscent of 2017’s painful deliberations over the Charlie Gard case, giving it an additional contemporary relevance and weight. It’s also immeasurably aided by a stylish, intelligent and emotionally literate performance from Emma Thompson, who excels in her articulation of Fiona’s troubled emotional world and moral disquiet.