The Children Act Book Review

Sometimes, the simplest interaction can change our lives in ways that are completely unexpected.

In the 2014 Ian McEwan novel, The Children Act, Fiona Maye is a family court judge who has not one, but two major conflicts in her life.

At home, her long time marriage to her American husband Jack is on thin ice mostly due to Fiona working constantly. At work, the newest case on Fiona’s docket is the case of Adam Henry. Adam is a 17-year-old boy who is only a few short months away from his 18th birthday. He is also suffering from Leukemia. Because he is a Jehovah’s Witness, his religion prevents him from receiving a life saving blood transfusion.

The hospital takes Adam’s parents to court to force them to accept a blood transfusion to save their son’s life. It is up to Fiona to determine what is the best course of action. She visits Adam in the hospital to help her make her decision.  What neither Adam or Fiona know is that this brief encounter will change both of their lives.

I saw the movie last weekend, so then, I could only judge the narrative and the characters based on the film. Now that I have read the book, I still have the same feeling. I was left with the same questions that I still don’t have an answer to.

I recommend it.


The Children Act Movie Review

When those in the legal field make a ruling, the hope is that is it is clean-cut. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

In the new film, The Children Act (based on the novel of the same name by Ian McEwan),  Fiona Maye (Emma Thompson) is a judge who is juggling a successful professional life and a crumbling marriage. Her marriage to her American husband Jack Maye (Stanley Tucci) is going down the tubes, mainly due to Fiona’s almost workaholic tendencies. At the same time, she is assigned the case of Adam Henry (Fionn Whitehead), a young man who is dying from Leukemia. Adam’s family are Jehovah’s Witnesses and do not believe in blood transfusions, even if it could save his life.

In order to determine if Adam’s religious beliefs trump the hospital’s decision to force him to take the blood transfusion, Fiona visits Adam in the hospital. Though neither Fiona or Adam know it, this visit will have a profound effect on feelings that neither have truly explored previously.

This movie is amazing. It explores a nuanced narrative with flawed, human characters that anyone can relate to.

I absolutely recommend it.

The Children Act is presently in theaters. 

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