The Children Act (2017)

# 14876 IMDb R 

The Children Act (2017

taglineWe all make choices. Hers make history.

Director: Richard Eyre

Stars: Stanley Tucci, Emma Thompson, Fionn Whitehead, Ben Chaplin, Andrew Havill

Drama (1h 45min)


Rated 6.7 after 2,952 votes, 62% postive reviews on 17-Oct-18.

1 win & 2 nominations


As her marriage to Jack flounders, eminent High Court judge Fiona Maye has a life-changing decision to make at work - should she force a teenage boy, Adam, to have the blood transfusion that will save his life? Her unorthodox visit to his hospital bedside has a profound impact on them both, stirring strong new emotions in the boy and long-buried feelings in her.


Richard Eyre (director) Emma Thompson Stanley Tucci Ben Chaplin Fionn Whitehead Rosie Cavaliero Honey Holmes

Emma Thompson (Fiona Maye), Stanley Tucci (Jack Maye), Ben Chaplin (Kevin Henry), Fionn Whitehead (Adam Henry), Rosie Cavaliero (Marina Green), Honey Holmes (Director / Producer (as Angela Holmes)), Jason Watkins (Nigel Pauling), Nikki Amuka-Bird (Amadia Kalu QC), Rupert Vansittart (Sherwood Runcie), Anthony Calf (Mark Berner), Toni Beard (Protester), Nicholas Jones (Professor Rodney Carter), Eileen Walsh (Naomi Henry), Hiten Patel (Lawyer), Andrew Havill (George), Michele Austin (Donna), Paul Jesson (Humphrey), Dominic Carter (Roger), Raphael Desprez (Twins Father), Karl Farrer (Family uncle at funeral), Dywayne Thomas (Legal Type - Passersby), Daniel Eghan (Fiona's Friend), Flor Ferraco (Courtroom Artist), Daniel Tuite (Sebastian), Rosie Boore (Sarah), Ian Kelly (Mr. Soames), Annarie Boor (Family Member), Chris Wilson (Barrister), Paul Bigley (Colin), Micah Balfour (Blackwell), Janine Catterall (Senior Master of the Queen's Bench), Julian Forsyth (Caradoc Bell), Ty Hurley (High Court Judge), Naomi Frederick (Amanda), Anjana Vasan (Kate), Robin Hooper (Butler), Howard Ward (Roy Whiting-Elder), Alex Felton (Toby), Wendy Nottingham (Laura), Alex Blake (Director)...

From the same director


Ian McEwan (screenplay by), Ian McEwan (based on the novel by)

Produced by

Glen Basner (executive producer), Ben Browning (executive producer), Célia Duval (co-producer), Duncan Kenworthy (producer), Charles Moore (executive producer), Joe Oppenheimer (executive producer), Beth Pattinson (executive producer)



This is a very deep and thought provoking movie, relying on a supurb cast performance with Emma Thompson heading the list. Be careful reading the synopsis as it contains a few significant errors, might be based on the novel. I can't explain the errors without adding spoilers, and I don't do these.

The basic point of this movie is a confrontation between a woman striving to be as rational as possible, being a judge, and facing the limitations of pure rationalism when she has to rule on a question of faith. While faith also struggles to come out from this confrontation unscathed, as manifest by the young boy who has to live with the ruling of the judge. Very cleverly the story doesn't end with the judges ruling but with both sides of the debate having to live with the consequences of the ruling. The story is told with very English reserve that suits it very well. That's all one needs to know, before seeing it. If you get the chance do see it.

Memorable quotes

Fiona Maye: Life is more precious than dignity.

7 total 


Despite only including one use of strong language (which is usually acceptable at 'PG-13'), the film holds an 'R' rating in the USA - likely because of the somewhat sexual context of the line in which that language appears. This is the highest rating the film has received (requiring that children under 17 have parental accompaniment), with Canada's '14a' coming the closest.

5 total 


1 win & 2 nominations 
Film by the Sea International Film Festival • Norwegian International Film Festival

Other titles

Kindeswohl (Germany) • Dommerens valg (Denmark) • La Ley del Menor (Spain) • My Lady (France) • Νόμος περί τέκνων (Greece) • The Children Act - La ballata di Adam Henry (Italy) • En dommers dilemma (Norway) • A Balada de Adam Henry (Portugal) • Domaren (Sweden) • The Children Act (USA)



Rated R for a sexual reference


Canada:14A / Canada:PG / France:Tous publics / Germany:12 / Ireland:12A / Netherlands:9 / Norway:7 / Singapore:PG13 / South Africa:13 / Sweden:7 / Switzerland:8 / United Kingdom:12A / United States:R



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