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The Children Act (2017)

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As her marriage crumbles, a judge must decide a case involving a teenage boy who is refusing a blood transfusion on religious principle.


Richard Eyre


Ian McEwan (screenplay by), Ian McEwan (based on the novel by)
4,141 ( 1,014)
2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Emma Thompson ... Fiona Maye
Stanley Tucci ... Jack Maye
Fionn Whitehead ... Adam Henry
Rosie Cavaliero ... Marina Green
Ben Chaplin ... Kevin Henry
Rupert Vansittart ... Sherwood Runcie
Nikki Amuka-Bird ... Amadia Kalu QC
Jason Watkins ... Nigel Pauling
Anthony Calf ... Mark Berner
Nicholas Jones ... Professor Rodney Carter
Alex Blake ... Director
Dominic Carter ... Roger
Honey Holmes ... Director / Producer (as Angela Holmes)
Eileen Walsh ... Naomi Henry
Andrew Havill ... George


As her marriage to Jack flounders, eminent High Court judge Fiona Maye has a life-changing decision to make at work - should she force a teenage boy, Adam, to have the blood transfusion that will save his life? Her unorthodox visit to his hospital bedside has a profound impact on them both, stirring strong new emotions in the boy and long-buried feelings in her. Written by Duncan Kenworthy

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


We all make choices. Hers make history.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a sexual reference | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »





Release Date:

14 September 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Children Act See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,293, 16 September 2018, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$513,381, 4 November 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Despite only including one use of strong language (which is usually acceptable at 'PG-13'), the film holds an 'R' rating in the USA - likely because of the somewhat sexual context of the line in which that language appears. This is the highest rating the film has received (requiring that children under 17 have parental accompaniment), with Canada's '14a' coming the closest. See more »


Throughout the film, her clerk and others address Fiona as 'my lady'; in reality they would simply call her 'judge'. 'My Lady' is a term of address used only in court. See more »


[First Lines]
Jack Maye: Are you coming to bed?
Fiona Maye: [continues typing without turning around to look at Jack] Hmm.
Jack Maye: Fi?
Fiona Maye: It's tomorrow, the... My conjoined twins. Judgement. I've got the bloody Archbishop of Westminster breathing down my neck.
See more »


Featured in Front Row: Episode #3.6 (2018) See more »


Die Seele ruht in Jesu Händen
Cantata BWV.127
written by Johann Sebastian Bach
See more »

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User Reviews

Outstanding, incredible storytelling, unrelenting.
12 September 2018 | by Glenn_K9See all my reviews

I am and always have been an Emma Thompson fan however when an actor such as Fionn Whitehead can show a fresh new face on the screen and totally steel it from Emma Thompson that's one mean feat! The blood transfusion for Mormons has always been a sore sport for me. I believe we all have the right to our own spirituality and belief system, sincerely I believe if something empowers you to the degree it can actually heal you (emotionally and physically) than so be it. I don't believe in the right, when a perfect outcome is like a practical sure thing, that taking that life is right. Its murder period. The Performance of Fionn Whitehold certainly taught me otherwise! A truly gifted actor with a bright brilliant career ahead of him. I think this film brought something different to us. It also teaches that ultimately it is our choice that matters most. Hats off, totally enjoyed this.

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