For the second time this year, a film adaptation of an Ian McEwan novel is about to hit theater screens. This time around it’s The Children Act. The movie stars Emma Thompson as Judge Fiona Maye, a member of the British court. She’s presented with a challenging case: A young boy, Adam (Fionn Whitehead), is dying and refusing the blood transfusion that could save his life. So she must decide if he should be forced to receive it.
At the same time she must decide what the law does and doesn’t allow, Maye is navigating the end of her marriage to Jack (Stanley Tucci). So while her personal life is more emotional than ever she’s also riding a roller coaster of feelings as she visits Adam’s bedside, something that creates all sorts of conflict in her.
While the story isn’t exactly spelled out on the poster, we do get the sense Judge Maye is being put in the position to make a touch call. We see her sitting behind her bench, which is enough, along with the copy “We all make choices. Hers make history.”
The main story is sold pretty effectively in the first trailer. We meet Judge Maye and see that she’s been put in the place of deciding whether or not the state can force a young man who’s dying to accept a blood transfusion, which he and his family have refused on religious grounds. That’s a difficult position to be in and the conflict she faces causes problems in her marriage to Jack.
It’s being positioned here as a drama about religious liberty, yes, but also what it means to be alive. The audience is promised lots of tense philosophical conversations between the various characters as they weigh life and death, which may not be to everyone’s interest, but you can’t deny that anytime Emma Thompson steps in front of the camera it’s a good thing.
Online and Social
Not much on the movie’s official website, just the trailer, a synopsis and some buttons to buy tickets. There were also Facebook and Twitter profiles.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
There’s been nothing I’ve seen or been able to find on the paid front.
Media and Publicity
The movie screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, where Thompson and the rest of the cast talked about working together and what attracted them to the story, the process shooting some of the more emotionally difficult scenes and more. The movie was picked up by A24 while at the festival.
Around the same time Toronto was underway, Thompson showed up on “The Late Show” to discuss the movie with Colbert and otherwise be charming. She also appeared on “Late Night.” An additional interview had her talking about the preparation she undertook for one important scene.
There’s a lot of emotional material presented here as we see the various issues Thompson’s Fiona has to deal with. What’s notable is that the campaign doesn’t seem to be hiding any of that from the audience. This isn’t a simple or easy movie being sold to the public and it remains to be seen if anyone will actually react to that as something they want to see this weekend.
PICKING UP THE SPARE
Emma Thompson talks about her career to date and how this movie fits into that here.