The idea of what is right or wrong feels so cut and dry for most of us, but is it really? There are factors like religion and your beliefs that affect what you hold to be true, but in most countries there is one final judgement and that is the law. Just because what is written is so, doesn’t mean you have to agree, but you do have to accept even if it goes against beliefs. There are many cases brought before the courts that challenge our differences, but often we forget about the human factor which in most cases is what it is all about in the first place.
For Fiona Maye (Emma Thompson) her life as a judge is about making decisions based on the law and nothing else. Life though does have a tendency to effect these things, and when her and her husband Jack (Stanley Tucci) start to have trouble, Fiona’s firm views start to change. Also like life, just as her difficulties at home begin she is given a case of a boy named Adam (Fionn Whitehead), who is sick, but who is refusing treatment based on religious grounds. Adam who is not yet eighteen has voiced his desires, but are they his own or is his parents’ wishes being pushed upon him. Fiona listens to both sides, but in a move not done much, she decides to go and talk to Adam to see if she can determine what he really wants. Adam forms an attachment to Fiona, believing she can answer all the questions he has which also causes her to reexamine her own life.
As I was watching this movie unfold, I found myself not being pulled in by the plot. Instead I was left with no feeling one way or the other at the outcome of the situation. Nor was I invested in any of the characters on the screen. The story written by Ian McEwan from his own novel has a sense of the profound in its DNA, but for me I never got that from anything I was seeing. What I did get was how incredible both Thompson and Tucci are and how they can shine even in mediocracy. That’s really all The Children Act has going for it, and while this movie isn’t bad, it instead falls in a slot of movie that never rises up to its full potential. It unfortunately just hovers over its issues and only slightly elevates to tolerable because of the two leads. That may be a good enough reason for some to watch this, but if we are going to see actors perform at the top of their game like they do here, the rest of the product shouldn’t fall so short.