The Children Act is a brilliant adaptation of Ian McEwan’s 2014 novel of the same name, and owes much of its brilliance to the extraordinary performances by its lead actors – in particular, two-time Academy Award-winner Emma Thompson.
The drama centres around British High Court judge Fiona Maye (Thompson) who, while in the midst of marriage troubles, is presented with a controversial court case; young teen Adam (Fionn Whitehead) has leukaemia, and is in need of a life-saving blood transfusion. However, he refuses to accept one due to his religious beliefs, and those of his family.
After first listening to the arguments put forward by Adam’s parents and the hospital, Fiona decides to visit Adam to find out whether he truly knows the consequences of his decision.
Thompson is a natural in the role, giving a nuanced performance as both the authoritative judge and the lonely career woman dealing with personal anguish.
Stanley Tucci also masters his role as Fiona’s gentle and supportive husband Jack, while Whitehead beautifully brings to life the thoughtful yet stubborn Adam.
Like the original novella, the story unfolds in unexpected ways, with an ending that will leave some feeling unsettled. Still, The Children Act is a marvellous visual representation of the book, and fans of Thompson should definitely not miss her in this role.