Ian McEwan’s 2014 bestselling novel has been translated into film; with minimal poetic license, it adheres to the literary scenario; its precepts are presented and readers/viewers are left with an unsettling, amorphous feeling of disquieting indecisiveness. The Children Act of 1989 in the United Kingdom was to ensure and protect the welfare of children, until their majority, at eighteen.
“Fiona Maye”; Emma Thompson is at her seasoned pinnacle; intelligence, empathetic proficiency is wholly developed and quietly piercing as a High Court Judge in Family Law; her marriage to “Professor Jack Maye” (Stanley Tucci) has withered; his subtle charm and erudition rendered in tempered gauche, blandness competing with Fiona’s vibrant, scintillating palette. “My Lady” Maye has to legislate the treatment of a seventeen-year-old boy, a Jehovah Witness, refusing a life-saving blood transfusion, because of his faith; as a Jehovah Witness, whose beliefs rest solely on the interpretation of the Bible; Genesis, Leviticus, Acts, commands not to ingest blood. In court, the opposing arguments are equally compelling, defying tradition, she elects to visit the patient, “Adam Henry” (Fionn Whitehead is pathetically gallant in the role) and determines after their prescient encounter to grant the medical technicians permission to transfuse him.
Adam is transfixed, metamorphized, convinced that Fiona is the wellspring, origin of his rejuvenation; shunning his past convictions, he writes, calls, stalks Fiona; he is now eighteen, keenly intuitive, he wants to live with her and Jack; Fiona fears the emotion he has tweaked in her controlled, uncompromised core.
Long after the book has been read, the movie viewed, plummeting psychological patters, disastrous decisions, tremble in one’s psyche. Ultimately, the comprehension that one’s heart refuses to be reigned by one’s intellect; defenseless, powerless, at Aphrodite’s whim we are ploys, victims of her wiles; conclusively, Shakespearian in its dimensions, aware of the differentiation between loving and being “in love”, herein lies the problematic beat of the gray area in “The Children Act”.
THREE &1/2 STARS!!!