The Children Act
Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, Fionn Whitehead
Adapted by Ian McEwan from his own novel, theatre and film director Richard Eyre’s (Iris, Notes on a Scandal) stately, moving drama following an eminent High Court judge for whom professional and personal crises collide as she approaches a critical ruling.
Even as her marriage to Jack (Stanley Tucci) founders, widely admired judge Fiona Maye (Emma Thompson) has a life-changing decision to make at work, namely: should she force Adam (Fionn Whitehead), 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, meticulously calibrated, Eyre’s 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 Thompson, who hasn’t enjoyed a role this rich in some time and excels in her articulation of Fiona’s troubled emotional world and moral disquiet.