Children of Men is a 2006 science fiction movie directed by Alfonso Cuaron and is developed from P. James 1992 novel The Children of Men. The society has been pushed nearly collapsing after several years of human infertility. Illegal immigrants are forced to seek refuge in England where harsh immigration rules are imposed on refugees by the government. Civil servant Theo Faron is played by Clive Owen who should struggle and help a pregnant refugee played by Ashitey Claire-Hope escape the skirmishes. Also starring in the film are Pam Ferris, Moore Julianne, Ejiofor Chiwetel and Michael Cain. The film won two British academy film awards and was nominated for best film editing, best cinematography and best adapted screenplay at the 79th Academy awards. This paper will seek to discuss the themes of faith, hope, redemption and despair as seen in the film.
The rich thematic elements of faith, hope and redemption play put superbly against the theme of despair in the dystopian vision of the future in the film. It explores the themes of hope, faith and redemption in the face of overwhelming despair and futility. Set in 2027, the world’s youngest citizen has been stabbed to death. The human race is facing extinction while the East European and African societies move to England and other wealthy nations (Berardinelli, 2006). An unexpected discovery of a pregnant woman is made and this sets out a desperate journey to deliver her to safety and restore faith in the future of mankind. A London peace activist turned administrator Theo join forces with Julian, his ex-wife in a quest to save mankind by protecting this lone pregnant woman in a climate of violence and disillusionment. From the setting, the population is introduced to a world with no hope as the future of mankind is facing extinction as infertiity sets in (Berardinelli, 2006).
Faith is thought to be assurance of items hoped for. But what is there to struggle and to look up for when there is no future ahead? What is left to trust and believe in when all the hope is removed? These are the scenarios well developed and portrayed in the film that flesh up the themes of hope and faith. We see the consequences of a generation stripped of hope. The death of baby Diego, the youngest person in the world is devastating news to the world, not because he was a popular person but because he was the youngest individual in the world. The movie introduces world without children, future without children and with no hope of any children as all women are infertile. There is only one hope left as one birth could end up changing the future of the world. We are taken one generation into the future where soaring levels of infertility has pushed the world into chaos, paranoia and abject despair. Anarchy and skirmishes have befallen the world with England exempted. Wracked by skirmishes and chaos between warring racial and political groups, England organizes itself by establishing a series of increasingly oppressive measures where the government installed a brutal homeland security force, detaining illegal immigrants in filthy and dangerous compounds and closing its borders (Welsh, 2007).
How we thrive in the presence of hope and wither in its absence is well depicted in the film. The main character Theo undergoes rejuvenation and redemption when his hope is reinstated through the realization of a possible new birth. There is evident change in character and actions of Theo as he encounters the pregnant woman. The change is also evident in everyone who encounters the woman. The presence of the pregnant woman is a tangible symbol of hope and future and this restores hopee and faith of the people which inspires them to be kind, courageous and to make sacrifices.
The theme of despair and disillusionment is also evident in the film. The film opens as a disillusioned political activist Theo is watching the news of the killing of the worlds youngest eighteen year old. Theo, just like many other people in England sleepwalks through meaningless existence and hopelessness. This is evident in the film as one character puts it, “Once the sounds of the playground faded, the despair set in.” The central symbol used in the film is infertility of mankind (Welsh, 2007). This metaphor is well used in the film to represent loss of hope, innocence and the perspective towards an optimistic future in the society. The reaction of the human consciousness in the wake of extreme situations is another essential phenomenon in the film. The film explores whether it is probable, after the chaos of Western Civilization in the 20th century and its subsequent loss of faith for advancement as means to realize an ideal sense of morality or to return to choose violence and skirmishes.
The movie acts as a reflection of our society as it explores a number of societal and social ills. Infertility acted as a catalyst that started a series of ills in this film. This represents any catastrophic event that shakes a society loose from its morals and shared humanity. From the film, we see how an atmosphere of despair and fear can drive a person or the society in an inward manner, raising walls in desperation for protection and sacrifice true freedom for perceived security. The film shows us how easy it is for a society to trip into “us and them” believing that looking down upon those who are different in appearance, speech or belief when favorable conditions are present.
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