TIFF 2017: Our Review of ‘The Children Act’

Posted in Film Festivals, Movies by - September 20, 2017
TIFF 2017: Our Review of ‘The Children Act’

It’s unclear early on the aim and purpose of The Children Act, and the drama’s attempts at culling meaning and sympathy fail time and again. What remains then is a story about a woman whose professional and personal life are sort of fraying, but it’s of little concern to the viewer. It becomes especially true when she makes some befuddling decisions the movie never does well enough to support.

A superb performance by Annette Benning, and an equally strong supporting turn by Stanley Tucci, is not enough to salvage a tonally strange and unconvincing adaptation of an Ian MacEwan novel.

Fiona Maye lives an affluent existence in her beautiful home with her professor husband while working a demanding job as a High Court judge. Soon on one front, her spouse (Tucci) explains he is planning a brief affair, a desire for lust brought on from decades of loving marriages but of late a lack of intimacy.

On another, a bothersome case involves a strictly religious boy on the verge of adulthood who may die without a blood transfusion, which is a no-no to his faith. Her decision to visit young Adam in the hospital is odd and not surprisingly upturns her life, as the boy basically equates her with an angel and becomes real attached.

She handles neither of these two relationships particularly well – and The Children Act doesn’t seem committed enough to anyone in particular. Adam is insufferable and Fiona is oblivious, and it all seems quite the bore.

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Anthony is a lover of a good story in any form, on any subject. Tirelessly navigating filmdom, he is equal parts an unbridled idealist and stubborn curmudgeon, trying to strike a balance between head and heart when it comes to pop culture. He pens stories about television, music, the environment, lifestyles, and all things noteworthy and peculiar.