The Full Wiki

Children of Men: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Children of Men

Theatrical poster showing Clive Owen
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón
Produced by Marc Abraham
Eric Newman
Iain Smith
Hilary Shor
Tony Smith
Thomas Bliss
Armyan Bernstein
Written by Novel
P. D. James
Alfonso Cuarón
Timothy J. Sexton
David Arata
Mark Fergus
Hawk Ostby
Clive Owen[1]
Starring Clive Owen
Julianne Moore
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Charlie Hunnam
Clare-Hope Ashitey
Pam Ferris
Danny Huston
Peter Mullan
Michael Caine
Music by John Tavener
Cinematography Emmanuel Lubezki
Editing by Alfonso Cuarón
Alex Rodríguez
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) 22 September 2006 (UK)
December 25, 2006 (US)
Running time 109 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £37 million
(US$76 million)[2]
Gross revenue US$69,612,678

Children of Men is a 2006 British dystopian science fiction film co-written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón. The Strike Entertainment production was loosely adapted from P. D. James's 1992 novel of the same name by Cuarón and Timothy J. Sexton with help from David Arata, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby. It stars Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Pam Ferris, Claire-Hope Ashitey, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Michael Caine.

Set in the United Kingdom of 2027, the film explores a grim world in which two decades of global human infertility have left humanity with less than a century to survive. Societal collapse, terrorism, and environmental destruction accompany the impending extinction. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom—perhaps the last functioning government—persecutes a seemingly endless wave of illegal immigrant refugees seeking sanctuary. In the midst of this chaos, Theo Faron (Clive Owen) must find safe transit for Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey), a pregnant African "fugee" (refugee).[3]

The film was released on 22 September 2006 in the UK, 19 October 2006 in Australia and on December 25, 2006 in the U.S., critics noting the relationship between the Christmas opening and the film's themes of hope, redemption, and faith.

Children of Men was only a moderate financial success, but attracted positive reviews from critics and acclaim from filmgoers. The film was recognised for its achievements in screenwriting, cinematography, art direction, and innovative single-shot action sequences, receiving three Academy Award nominations and winning two BAFTA awards. It has gone on to take many accolades after its release, with many critics and associations recognizing it as a contemporary sci-fi classic.



By 2027, no children have been born anywhere in the world for 18 years. Most governments have collapsed, leaving the United Kingdom one of the few (possibly the only) remaining organised societies. Millions of refugees have entered the United Kingdom seeking asylum. In response, Britain has become a militarised police state. The British Army rounds up and detains all illegal immigrants and suspected sympathisers. A suicide kit by the name of Quietus is marketed throughout the film on billboards, newspaper ads and television commercials.

Theo (Clive Owen), an activist turned apathetic bureaucrat, learns that the world's youngest person, an 18-year-old Argentine dubbed Baby Diego (Juan Gabriel Yacuzzi), has been stabbed to death in Buenos Aires in an altercation. Theo narrowly avoids a café bomb explosion attributed to the Fishes, an underground group advocating equal rights for illegal immigrants in Britain.

Theo visits his friend, Jasper Palmer (Michael Caine), a former political cartoonist and aging hippie. Jasper lives in a secluded hideaway in the countryside and spends his time growing marijuana and caring for his catatonic wife, who was reportedly tortured by MI5.

Upon his return to London, Theo is kidnapped by the Fishes, who are led by his estranged wife Julian Taylor (Julianne Moore). Theo is surprised and happy to see her, as they parted ways shortly after their young son died during a flu pandemic in 2008. Julian offers Theo money for help in obtaining a travel permit for a young refugee woman named Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey). Initially ambivalent, Theo obtains a permit from his cousin Nigel (Danny Huston), a government minister, but it stipulates that bearer must be accompanied, so Theo agrees to escort Kee in exchange for more money.

Luke (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a member of the Fishes, drives Theo, Kee, Julian, and Miriam (Pam Ferris), a midwife, towards the coast for a rendezvous with a boat. They are ambushed by an armed group and Julian is fatally shot as they escape. When the police show up, two officers stop their car. Luke kills them. The group buries Julian in the forest, then take shelter in a safe house. With Julian dead, Luke is elected the new leader of the Fishes.

Kee reveals to Theo that she is pregnant, and that Julian told her she should only trust him. Julian had intended to hand Kee over to the Human Project, a group of scientists dedicated to curing infertility who are supposedly based in the Azores. However, with the police after them for the shooting, Luke proposes keeping Kee with the Fishes. She agrees to stay until after the baby is born. Theo suggests that they go public with the news of Kee's baby, but the Fishes argue that the child will be taken by the government.

Late that night, Theo awakens and eavesdrops on a meeting of Luke and other high-ranking members of the Fishes. He discovers that Julian's death was orchestrated by some of the Fishes themselves so they could use Kee's baby as a political tool to gain support for their upcoming revolution. Theo wakes Kee and Miriam; they steal a car and escape to Jasper's house. There, Miriam explains that the Human Project ship Tomorrow is scheduled to arrive offshore from the Bexhill refugee camp. Jasper proposes to smuggle them into the camp with the help of his friend Syd (Peter Mullan), a guard at Bexhill.

The Fishes find Jasper's hideout, but Theo, Miriam, and Kee get away. Jasper stays behind. Realising that his end is near, he gives Quietus to his wife and dog. He is murdered when he refuses to reveal where the others are. The trio meet Syd, and are driven to Bexhill as fake prisoners. When Kee begins having contractions while they are on the bus, Miriam distracts a suspicious guard by faking religious mania, and is dragged off the bus.

In Bexhill, Theo and Kee meet Syd's contact, Marichka (Oana Pellea). She provides them a room where Kee gives birth to a girl. The next day, Syd informs Theo and Kee that a full-scale uprising among the refugees has broken out. The Fishes have also broken into Bexhill and the Army is being mobilised. Having learned that they are wanted in the murders of the two policemen, and discovering the baby, Syd attempts to turn them in for the reward. With Marichka's help, they escape. Marichka then attempts to procure Theo and Kee a boat so they can rendezvous with the Tomorrow.

The Fishes capture Kee, but come under fire from troops supported by tanks and armoured vehicles; amid the chaos, Theo tracks Kee and her baby to an apartment building and frees them. Luke shoots at Theo as they make their escape but is killed by a tank shell. When the soldiers and the insurgents hear the baby crying, the fighting stops. Theo, Kee, and the baby walk past the awed combatants and building residents, before the fighting resumes.

Marichka leads them to a sewer and a boat, but refuses to join them. As Theo rows away, Kee learns that Theo was shot by Luke. She says she will name her baby "Dylan" after Theo's deceased son. Theo slumps to the side of the boat as the Tomorrow emerges from the thick fog. Kee tells baby Dylan that "we're safe now" and softly sings a traditional Ga language lullaby called "Kaa Fo" ("Don't Cry"). The screen cuts to black to the sound of children's laughter.


  • Clive Owen as Theo Faron, a former activist who was devastated when his child died during a flu pandemic.[4] Theo is the "archetypal everyman" who unwillingly becomes a saviour.[5][6] Cast in April 2005,[7] Owen spent several weeks collaborating with Cuarón and Sexton about his role. Impressed by Owen's creative insights, Cuarón and Sexton brought him on board as a writer.[8] Back-story developing Theo's character was removed during the editing process: a scene showing Theo stealing petrol vouchers from work was cut to emphasise visual over verbal information. "Clive was a big help," Cuarón told Variety. "I would send a group of scenes to him, and then I would hear his feedback and instincts."[9]
  • Julianne Moore as Julian Taylor. For Julian, Cuarón wanted an actor who had the "credibility of leadership, intelligence, [and] independence".[8] Moore was cast in June 2005.[10] "She is just so much fun to work with," Cuarón told Cinematical. "She is just pulling the rug out from under your feet all the time. You don't know where to stand, because she is going to make fun of you."[8]
  • Michael Caine as Jasper Palmer. Caine based Jasper on his experiences with friend John Lennon;[8] it was the first time he had portrayed a character who would pass wind or smoke cannabis.[11] Cuarón explains, "Once he had the clothes and so on and stepped in front of the mirror to look at himself, his body language started changing. Michael loved it. He believed he was this guy".[11] Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune notices an apparent homage to Schwartz (Mort Mills) in Orson Welles' film noir, Touch of Evil (1958). Jasper calls Theo "amigo" — just as Schwartz referred to Ramon Miguel Vargas (Charlton Heston).[12]
  • Claire-Hope Ashitey as Kee, a character who did not appear in the book. The role of an African illegal immigrant was written into the film, based on Cuarón's opinion of the recent single-origin hypothesis of human origins and the status of dispossessed people:[13] "The fact that this child will be the child of an African woman has to do with the fact that humanity started in Africa. We're putting the future of humanity in the hands of the dispossessed and creating a new humanity to spring out of that."[14]
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor as Luke
  • Pam Ferris as Miriam
  • Danny Huston as Nigel, Theo's cousin and a high ranking government official. Nigel runs a Ministry of Arts programme "Ark of the Arts", which "rescues" works of art such as Michelangelo's David, Pablo Picasso's Guernica and Banksy's British Cops Kissing.



Children of Men explores the themes of hope and faith[15] in the face of overwhelming futility and despair.[16][17] The film's source, the novel The Children of Men by P. D. James, describes what happens when society is unable to reproduce, using male infertility to explain this problem.[18][19] In the novel, it is made clear that hope depends on future generations. James writes, "It was reasonable to struggle, to suffer, perhaps even to die, for a more just, a more compassionate society, but not in a world with no future where, all too soon, the very words 'justice,' 'compassion,' 'society,’ 'struggle,' 'evil,' would be unheard echoes on an empty air."[20]

The film switches the infertility from male to female[17] but never explains its cause: environmental destruction and divine punishment are considered.[21] This unanswered question (and others in the film) have been attributed to Cuarón's dislike for expository film: "There's a kind of cinema I detest, which is a cinema that is about exposition and explanations.... It's become now what I call a medium for lazy readers.... Cinema is a hostage of narrative. And I'm very good at narrative as a hostage of cinema."[22] Cuaron's disdain for back-story and exposition led him to use the concept of female infertility as a "metaphor for the fading sense of hope".[17] The "almost mythical" Human Project is turned into a "metaphor for the possibility of the evolution of the human spirit, the evolution of human understanding."[23] Without dictating how the audience should feel by the end of the film, Cuarón encourages viewers to come to their own conclusions about the sense of hope depicted in the final scenes: "We wanted the end to be a glimpse of a possibility of hope, for the audience to invest their own sense of hope into that ending. So if you're a hopeful person you'll see a lot of hope, and if you're a bleak person you'll see a complete hopelessness at the end."[24]

Contemporary references

Children of Men takes an unconventional approach to the modern action film, using documentary, newsreel style to convey what critic Michael Joshua Rowin describes as "stunning verisimilitude within its mise-en-scène." For Rowin, the film alludes to and resonates with the catastrophic destruction and symbolism of the September 11, 2001 attacks.[25]

Rowin, along with film critics Jason Guerrasio and Ethan Alter, observe the film's underlying touchstone of immigration; Alter notes that the film "makes a potent case against the anti-immigrant sentiment" popular in modern societies like the United Kingdom and the United States, with Guerrasio describing the film as "a complex meditation on the politics of today".[24][26]

For Alter and other critics, the structural support and impetus for the contemporary references rests upon the visual nature of the film's exposition, occurring in the form of imagery as opposed to conventional dialogue.[26] Visually, the refugee camps in the film intentionally evoke Abu Ghraib prison, Guantanamo Bay detention camp, and The Maze.[23] Other popular images appear, such as a sign over the refugee camp reading "Homeland Security".[27] The similarity between the hellish, cinéma vérité stylized battle scenes of the film and current news and documentary coverage of the Iraq War, is noted by film critic Manohla Dargis, describing Cuarón's fictional landscapes as "war zones of extraordinary plausibility".[28]

In the film, refugees are "hunted down like cockroaches," rounded up and put into cages and camps, and even shot, leading film critics like Chris Smith and Claudia Puig to observe symbolic "overtones" and images of the Holocaust.[16][29] This theme is reinforced in the scene where an elderly refugee woman speaking German is seen detained in a cage,[3] and in the scene where British Homeland Security strips and beats illegal immigrants, a song by The Libertines, "Arbeit Macht Frei", plays in the background.[30] "The visual allusions to the Nazi roundups are unnerving," writes Richard A. Blake. "It shows what people can become when the government orchestrates their fears for its own advantage."[31]

Cuarón explains how he uses this imagery to propagate the theme by cross-referencing fictional and futuristic events with real, contemporary, or historical incidents and beliefs:

They exit the Russian apartments, and the next shot you see is this woman wailing, holding the body of her son in her arms. This was a reference to a real photograph of a woman holding the body of her son in the Balkans, crying with the corpse of her son. It's very obvious that when the photographer captured that photograph, he was referencing La Pietà, the Michelangelo sculpture of Mary holding the corpse of Jesus. So: We have a reference to something that really happened, in the Balkans, which is itself a reference to the Michelangelo sculpture. At the same time, we use the sculpture of David early on, which is also by Michelangelo, and we have of course the whole reference to the Nativity. And so everything was referencing and cross-referencing, as much as we could.[8]

In the closing credits, the Sanskrit words, "Shanti Shanti Shanti" (pronounced as śānti),[32] appear as end titles.[33][34] Writer and film critic Laura Eldred of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill observes that Children of Men is "full of tidbits that call out to the educated viewer". During a visit to his house by Theo and Kee, Jasper says "Shanti, shanti, shanti." Eldred notes that the "shanti" used in the film is also found at the end of an Upanishad and in the final line of T. S. Eliot's poem, The Waste Land, a work Eldred describes as "devoted to contemplating a world emptied of fertility: a world on its last, teetering legs". However, "shanti" is also a common beginning and ending to all Hindu prayers, and literally means "peace," referencing the invocation of divine intervention and rebirth through an end to violence.[35]


Described as a "companion piece" to Cuarón's Y tu mamá también, Children of Men is also a road movie. Like Virgil's Aeneid, Dante's Divine Comedy, and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, the crux of the journey in Children of Men lies in what is uncovered along the path rather than the terminus itself.[31] Theo's heroic journey to the south coast mirrors his personal quest for "self-awareness",[26] a journey that takes Theo from "despair to hope".[36]

According to Cuarón, the title of P. D. James' book (The Children of Men) is a Catholic allegory derived from a passage of scripture in the Bible.[37] (Psalm 90(89):3 of the KJV: "Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.") James refers to her story as a "Christian fable"[18] while Cuarón describes it as "almost like a look at Christianity": "I didn't want to shy away from the spiritual archetypes," Cuarón told Filmmaker Magazine. "But I wasn't interested in dealing with dogma."[24]

Ms. James's nativity story is, in Mr. Cuarón's version, set against the image of a prisoner in an orange smock with a black bag on his head, arms stretched out as if on a cross.

Manohla Dargis, [38]

This divergence from the original was criticised by some, including Anthony Sacramone of First Things who called the film "an act of vandalism", noting the irony of how Cuarón had removed religion from PD James' fable where morally sterile nihilism is overcome by Christianity.[39]

The film has been noted for its use of Christian symbolism; for example, British terrorists named "Fishes" protect the rights of refugees.[40] Opening on Christmas Day in the United States, critics compared the characters of Theo and Kee with Joseph and Mary,[41] calling the film a "modern-day Nativity story":[42] Kee's pregnancy is revealed to Theo in a barn, alluding to the manger of the Nativity scene, and when other characters discover Kee and her baby, they respond with "Jesus Christ" or the sign of the cross.[43]

To highlight these spiritual themes, Cuarón commissioned a 15-minute piece by British composer John Tavener, a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church whose work resonates with the themes of "motherhood, birth, rebirth, and redemption in the eyes of God." Calling his score a "musical and spiritual reaction to Alfonso's film", snippets of Tavener's "Fragments of a Prayer" contain lyrics in Latin, German and Sanskrit sung by a mezzo-soprano. Words like "mata" (mother), "pahi mam" (protect me), "avatara" (saviour), and "alleluia" appear throughout the film.[44][45]


The adaptation of the P. D. James novel was originally written by Paul Chart, and later rewritten by Mark Fergus and Hawk Otsby. Developed by producers Marc Abraham, Eric Newman, Hilary Shor and Tony Smith, Beacon Pictures brought director Alfonso Cuarón on board in 2001.[46] Cuarón and screenwriter Timothy J. Sexton began rewriting the script after the director completed Y tu mamá también. Afraid he would "start second guessing things"[11] Cuarón chose not to read P. D. James' novel, opting to have Sexton read the book while Cuarón himself read an abridged version.[8][24] Cuarón did not immediately begin production, instead directing Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The director's work experience in the United Kingdom exposed him to the "social dynamics of the British psyche", giving him insight into the depiction of "British reality".[47] Cuarón used the film The Battle of Algiers as a model for social reconstruction in preparation for production, presenting the film to Clive Owen as an example of his vision for Children of Men. In order to create a philosophical and social framework for the film, the director read literature by Slavoj Žižek, as well as similar works.[48] The film Sunrise was also influential.[17]


A Clockwork Orange helped contribute to the futuristic, yet battered patina of 2027 London.[17] Children of Men was the second film Cuarón made in London, with the director portraying the city as a character itself, shooting single, wide shots of the city.[49] While Cuarón was preparing the film, the London bombings occurred, but the director never considered moving the production. "It would have been impossible to shoot anywhere but London, because of the very obvious way the locations were incorporated into the film," Cuarón told Variety. "For example, the shot of Fleet Street looking towards St. Paul's would have been impossible to shoot anywhere else."[49] Due to these circumstances, the opening terrorist attack scene on Fleet Street was shot one-and-a-half months after the London bombing.[48]

Cuarón chose to shoot some scenes in East London, a location he considered "a place without glamour". The set locations were dressed to make them appear even more run-down; Cuarón says he told the crew "'Let's make it more Mexican'. In other words, we'd look at a location and then say: yes, but in Mexico there would be this and this. It was about making the place look run-down. It was about poverty."[48] He also made use of London's most popular sites, shooting in locations like Trafalgar Square and Battersea Power Station. The power station scene (whose conversion into an art archive is a reference to the Tate Modern), has been compared to Antonioni's Red Desert.[50] Cuarón added a pig balloon to the scene as homage to Pink Floyd's Animals.[51] Other art works visible in this scene include Michelangelo's David,[31] Picasso's Guernica,[52] and Banksy's British Cops Kissing.[3] London visual effects companies Double Negative and Framestore worked directly with Cuarón from script to post production, developing effects and creating "environments and shots that wouldn't otherwise be possible".[49]

Style and design

"In most sci-fi epics, special effects substitute for story. Here they seamlessly advance it," observes Colin Covert of Star Tribune.[53] Billboards were designed to balance a contemporary and futuristic appearance as well as easily visualizing what else was occurring in the rest of the world at the time, and cars were made to resemble modern ones at first glance, although a closer look made them seem unfamiliar.[54] Cuarón informed the art department that the film was the "anti-Blade Runner",[55] rejecting technologically advanced proposals and downplaying the science fiction elements of the 2027 setting. The director focused on images reflecting the contemporary period,[56] choosing to have innovative technology in the film's timeline discontinued by 2014. With the future in mind, Cuarón maintained a steady gaze on the present: "We didn't want to be distracted by the future. We didn't want to transport the audience into another reality."[57]

Single-shot sequences

Children of Men used several lengthy single-shot sequences in which extremely complex actions take place. The longest of these are a shot in which Kee gives birth (199 seconds); an ambush on a country road (247 seconds); and a scene in which Theo is captured by the Fishes, escapes, and runs down a street and through a building in the middle of a raging battle (454 seconds). These sequences were extremely difficult to film, although the effect of continuity is sometimes an illusion, aided by CGI effects.[58]

Cuarón had already experimented with long takes in Y tu mamá también and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. His style is influenced by the Swiss film Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000, a favorite of Cuarón's. Cuarón reminisces: "I was studying cinema when I first saw [Jonah], and interested in the French New Wave. Jonah was so unflashy compared to those films. The camera keeps a certain distance and there are relatively few close-ups. It's elegant and flowing, constantly tracking, but very slowly and not calling attention to itself."[59] Complicated long-takes were already popular among more accomplished film directors in Mexico, where the technique is known as plano secuencia.

The creation of the single-shot sequences was a challenging, time-consuming process that sparked concerns from the studio. It took fourteen days to prepare for the single shot in which Clive Owen's character searches a building under attack, and five hours for every time they wanted to reshoot it. In the middle of one shot, blood splattered onto the lens, and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki convinced the director to leave it in. According to Owen, "Right in the thick of it are me and the camera operator because we're doing this very complicated, very specific dance which, when we come to shoot, we have to make feel completely random."[60]

Cuarón's initial idea for maintaining continuity during the roadside ambush scene was dismissed by production experts as an "impossible shot to do". Fresh from the visual effects-laden Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Cuarón suggested using computer-generated imagery to film the scene. Lubezki refused to allow it, reminding the director that they had intended to make a film akin to a "raw documentary". Instead, a special camera rig invented by Gary Thieltges of Doggicam Systems was employed, allowing Cuarón to develop the scene as one extended shot.[12][61] A vehicle was modified to enable seats to tilt and lower actors out of the way of the camera, and the windshield was designed to tilt out of the way to allow camera movement in and out through the front windscreen. A crew of four, including the DP and camera operator, rode on the roof.[62]

However, the commonly reported statement that the action scenes are continuous shots[63] is not entirely true. Visual effects supervisor Frazer Churchill explains that the effects team had to "combine several takes to create impossibly long shots", where their job was to "create the illusion of a continuous camera move." Once the team was able to create a "seamless blend", they would move on to the next shot. These techniques were important for three continuous shots: the coffee shop explosion in the opening shot, the car ambush, and the battlefield scene. The coffee shop scene was composed of "two different takes shot over two consecutive days"; the car ambush was shot in "six sections and at four different locations over one week and required five seamless digital transitions"; and the battlefield scene "was captured in five separate takes over two locations". Churchill and the Double Negative team created over 160 of these types of effects for the film.[64] In an interview with Variety, Cuarón acknowledged this nature of the "single-shot" action sequences: "Maybe I'm spilling a big secret, but sometimes it's more than what it looks like. The important thing is how you blend everything and how you keep the perception of a fluid choreography through all of these different pieces."[9]

Tim Webber of VFX house Framestore CFC was responsible for the three-and-a-half minute single take of Kee giving birth, helping to choreograph and create the CG effects of the childbirth.[49] Cuarón had originally intended to use an animatronic baby as Kee's child with the exception of the childbirth scene. In the end, two takes were shot, with the second take concealing Claire-Hope Ashitey's legs, replacing them with prosthetic legs. Cuarón was pleased with the results of the effect, and returned to previous shots of the baby in animatronic form, replacing them with Framestore's computer-generated baby.[58]


Cuarón uses sound and music to bring the fictional world of social unrest and infertility to life.[65] A creative yet restrained combination of rock, pop, electronic music, hip-hop and classical music replaces the typical film score.[65] The mundane sounds of traffic, barking dogs, and advertisements follow the character of Theo through London, East Sussex and Kent, producing what Los Angeles Times writer Kevin Crust calls an "urban audio rumble".[65] For Crust, the music comments indirectly on the barren world of Children of Men: Deep Purple's version of "Hush" blaring from Jasper's car radio becomes a "sly lullaby for a world without babies" while King Crimson's "The Court of the Crimson King" make a similar allusion with their lyrics, "...three lullabies in an ancient tongue".[65]

Amongst a genre-spanning selection of electronic music, a remix of Aphex Twin's "Omgyjya Switch 7", which includes additional samples of screams not present on the original can be heard during the scene in Jasper's house, where Jasper's "Strawberry Cough" (a potent, strawberry-flavoured blend of marijuana) is being sampled. During a conversation between the two men, Radiohead's "Life in a Glasshouse" plays in the background.

A number of dubstep tracks, most notably Anti-War Dub by Digital Mystikz, as well as tracks by Kode9 & The Space Ape and Pressure are also featured.[66]

For the Bexhill scenes during the film's second half, the director makes use of silence and cacophonous sound effects such as the firing of automatic weapons and loudspeakers directing the movement of "fugees" (illegal immigrants).[65] Here, classical music by George Frideric Handel, Gustav Mahler, and Krzysztof Penderecki's "Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima" complements the chaos of the refugee camp.[65] Throughout the film, John Tavener's Fragments of a Prayer is used as a spiritual motif to explain and interpret the story without the use of narrative.[65]

A few times during the film, a loud, ringing tone evocative of tinnitus is heard. This sound generally coincides with the death of a major character (Julian, Jasper) and is referred to by Julian herself, who describes the tones as the last time you'll ever hear that frequency. In this way, then, the loss of the tones is symbolic of the loss of the characters. This has been noted by several sources but a good summary appeared on filmint in 2007.[67]

As the closing credits begin, the sound of children laughing is heard.[68] Two political songs, John Lennon's "Bring on the Lucie (Freeda Peeple)" and Jarvis Cocker's "Running the World", close out the film.[65]


Children of Men had its world premiere at the 63rd Venice International Film Festival on 3 September 2006.[69] On 22 September 2006, the film debuted at #1 in the United Kingdom with $2.4 million in 368 screens.[70] It debuted in a limited release of 16 theaters in the United States on 22 December 2006, expanding to more than 1,200 theaters on 5 January 2007.[71] As of 6 February 2008, Children of Men had grossed $69,612,678 worldwide, with $35,552,383 of the revenue generated in the United States.[72]

Critical reception

The film received very positive reviews. According to the review tallying website Rotten Tomatoes, Children of Men received a 92% overall approval out of 196 reviews from critics,[73] and on Metacritic, the film has a rating of 84 based on 36 reviews.[74]

Dana Stevens of Slate Magazine called it "the herald of another blessed event: the arrival of a great director by the name of Alfonso Cuarón." Stevens hailed the film's extended car chase and battle scenes as "two of the most virtuoso single-shot chase sequences I've ever seen."[42] Manohla Dargis of The New York Times called the film a "superbly directed political thriller", raining accolades on the long chase scenes.[28] "Easily one of the best films of the year" said Ethan Alter of Film Journal International, with scenes that "dazzle you with their technical complexity and visual virtuosity."[26] Jonathan Romney of The Independent praised the accuracy of Cuarón's portrait of the United Kingdom, but he criticized some of the film's futuristic scenes as "run-of-the-mill future fantasy."[3] Film Comment's Critics' Poll of the best films of 2006 ranked the film #19 while the 2006 Readers' Poll ranked it #2.[75] On their list of the best movies of 2006, The A.V. Club, the San Francisco Chronicle, Slate Magazine and The Washington Post placed the film at number-one.[76] Entertainment Weekly ranked the film seventh on its end-of-the-decade, top ten list, saying, "Alfonso Cuarón's dystopian 2006 film reminded us that adrenaline-juicing action sequences can work best when the future looks just as grimy as today."[77]

Top ten lists

The film appeared on many critics' top ten lists as one of the best films of 2006:[76]

General top ten


P. D. James, who was reported to be pleased with the film,[78] and the screenwriters of Children of Men were awarded the 19th annual USC Scripter Award for the screen adaptation of the novel; Howard Rodman, chair of the USC School of Cinematic Arts Writing Division, described the book-to-screen adaptation as "writing and screen writing of the highest order.", although Gerschatt, writing in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, noted that the screenplay bore very little resemblance to the novel, in the gender of the baby, and the character who was pregnant (Julian, in the novel) and the death of Theo, who in fact, did not die in the novel. [79] The film was also nominated in the category of Best Adapted Screenplay at the 79th Academy Awards.

Children of Men also obtained Academy Award nominations for Best Cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki) and Best Film Editing (Alfonso Cuarón and Alex Rodríguez).[80] The British Academy of Film and Television Arts nominated Children of Men for Best Visual Effects and honored the film with awards for Best Cinematography and Best Production Design at the 60th British Academy Film Awards. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki won the feature film award for Best Cinematography at the 21st American Society of Cinematographers Awards. The Australian Cinematographers Society also awarded Lubezki the 2007 International Award for Cinematography for Children of Men.[81]

The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films bestowed the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film on Children of Men, and it received the nomination for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form by the members of the World Science Fiction Convention.[82]

Home media

The DVD was released in Europe on 15 January 2007[83] and in the United States on 27 March 2007. Extras include a half-hour documentary by director Alfonso Cuarón entitled "The Possibility of Hope". The documentary explores the intersection between the film's themes and reality with a critical analysis by eminent scholars: the Slovenian sociologist and philosopher Slavoj Žižek , anti-globalization activist Naomi Klein, futurist James Lovelock, sociologist Saskia Sassen, human geographer Fabrizio Eva, cultural theorist Tzvetan Todorov, and philosopher and economist John N. Gray; "Under Attack" features a demonstration of the innovative techniques required for the car chase and battle scenes; Clive Owen and Julianne Moore discuss their characters in "Theo & Julian"; "Futuristic Design" opens the door on the production design and look of the film; "Visual Effects" shows how the digital baby was created. Deleted scenes are included.[84] The film was released on Blu-ray Disc in the United States on 26 May 2009.[85]


  1. ^ Voynar, Kim (25 December 2006). "Interview: Children of Men Director Alfonso Cuaron". Cinematical / Weblogs, Inc.. Retrieved 2008-01-20. 
  2. ^ "Children of Men". IMDB. Retrieved 2007-10-22. 
  3. ^ a b c d Romney, Jonathan (Jan-Feb 2007). "Green and Pleasant Land". Film Comment: 32–35. 
  4. ^ Vineberg, Steve (6 February 2007). "Rumors of a birth". The Christian Century 124 (3). 
  5. ^ Meyer, Carla (3 January 2007). "Children of Men". Sacramento Bee. 
  6. ^ Williamson, Kevin (3 January 2007). "Man of action". Calgary Sun. 
  7. ^ Snyder, Gabriel (27 April 2005). "Owen having U's children". Variety. Retrieved 2007-02-02. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Voynar, Kim (25 December 2006). "Interview: Children of Men Director Alfonso Cuarón". Cinematical. Retrieved 2007-01-23. 
  9. ^ a b Debruge, Peter (19 February 2007). "Editors cut us in on tricky sequences". Variety. 
  10. ^ Snyder, Gabriel (15 June 2005). "Moore makes way to U's Children". Variety. Retrieved 2007-02-02. 
  11. ^ a b c "Interview: Alfonso Cuaron". Moviehole. Retrieved 2007-02-10. 
  12. ^ a b Phillips, Michael (27 December 2006). "Children of Men director thrives on collaboration". Chicago Tribune. 
  13. ^ Wagner, Annie (28 December 2006). "Politics, Bible Stories and Hope. An Interview with Alfonso Cuarón". The Stranger. Retrieved 2007-02-26. 
  14. ^ Hennerson, Evan (19 December 2006). "Brave new world. Clive Owen embarks on a mission to ensure humanity's survival". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved 2007-02-26. 
  15. ^ "Cuaron Mulls SF Film". Sci Fi Wire. 27 May 2004. Retrieved 2007-02-04. 
  16. ^ a b Puig, Claudia (21 December 2006). "Children of Men sends stark message". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  17. ^ a b c d e Wells, Jeffrey (1 November 2006). "Interview with Alfonso Cuarón". Hollywood Elsewhere. Retrieved 2007-01-23. 
  18. ^ a b "You ask the questions: P. D. James". The Independent. 14 March 2001. Retrieved 2007-01-23. 
  19. ^ Seshadri, B. (1 February 1995). "Male infertility and world population". Contemporary Review. Retrieved 2007-01-23. 
  20. ^ Bowman, James (2007). "Our Childless Dystopia". The New Atlantis (Ethics and Public Policy Center) (15): 107–110. Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  21. ^ Ross, Bob (5 January 2007). "Hope is as scarce as Children in Dystopian Sci-Fi Thriller". Tampa Tribune. 
  22. ^ Rahner, Mark (22 December 2006). "Alfonso Cuaron, director of "Y tu mama tambien" searches for hope in "Children of Men"". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  23. ^ a b Vo, Alex. "Interview with "Children of Men" Director Alfonso Cuarón". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2007-01-23. 
  24. ^ a b c d Guerrasio, Jason (22 December 2006). "A New Humanity". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved 2007-01-23. 
  25. ^ Rowin, Michael Joshua (Spring 2007). "Children of Men". Cineaste 32 (2): 60–61. 
  26. ^ a b c d Alter, Ethan. "Reviews: Children of Men". Film Journal International. Retrieved 2007-01-28. 
  27. ^ Bennett, Ray (4 September 2006). "Children of Men". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  28. ^ a b Dargis, Manohla (25 December 2006). "Apocalypse Now, but in the Wasteland a Child Is Given". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  29. ^ Smith, Chris (1 January 2007). "Children of Men a dark film, and one of 2006's best". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  30. ^ Herrmann, Zachary (14 December 2006). "Championing the Children". The Diamondback. Retrieved 2007-02-04. 
  31. ^ a b c Blake, Richard A (5 February 2007). "What If...?". America. 
  32. ^ "Om shanti shanti shanti". wildmind. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  33. ^ LaCara, Len (22 April 2007). "Cruelest of months leaves more families grieving". Coshocton Tribune. 
  34. ^ Lowman, Rob (27 March 2007). "Cuaron vs. the world". Los Angeles Daily News. 
  35. ^ Kozma, Andrew; Laura Eldred (16 January 2007). "Children of Men: Review". Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  36. ^ Butler, Robert W. (5 January 2007). "Sci-fi movie paints grim future". Kansas City Star. 
  37. ^ von Busack, Richard (10 January 2007). "Making the Future: Richard von Busack talks to Alfonso Cuarón about filming Children of Men". Metroactive. Retrieved 2007-01-23. 
  38. ^ Dargis, Manohla (7 January 2007). "Beauty and Beasts of England, in a World on Its Last Legs". Awards Season (The New York Times). Retrieved 2008-05-01. 
  39. ^
  40. ^ Simon, Jeff (4 January 2007). "Life Force: Who carries the torch of hope when the world is without children?". The Buffalo News. 
  41. ^ "Children of Men". People 67 (1). 8 January 2007. 
  42. ^ a b Stevens, Dana (21 December 2006). "The Movie of the Millennium". Slate. Retrieved 2007-02-15. 
  43. ^ Richstatter, Katje (Mar-Apr 2007). "Two Dystopian Movies...and their Visions of Hope" (Reprint). Tikkun 22 (2). 
  44. ^ Broxton, Jonathan (17 January 2007). "Children of Men". Movie Music UK. Retrieved 2007-02-05. 
  45. ^ Crust, Kevin (17 January 2007). "Unconventional soundscape in Children of Men". Chicago Tribune.,1,5548746.story?coll=chi-ent_movies-hed. Retrieved 2007-01-26. 
  46. ^ Fleming, Michael (5 October 2001). "Helmer Raises Children". Daily Variety. 
  47. ^ Douglas, Edward (8 December 2006). "Exclusive: Filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón". Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  48. ^ a b c "Children of Men feature". Time Out. 21 September 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  49. ^ a b c d Barraclough, Leo (18 September 2006). "Nightmare on the Thames". Variety. 
  50. ^ Pols, Mary F. (25 December 2006). "A haunting view of the end". Contra Costa Times. 
  51. ^ Faraci, Devin (4 January 2007). "Exclusive Interview: Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men)". Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  52. ^ French (24 September 2006). "Children of Men | Reviews | Guardian Unlimited Film". The Observer.,,1879597,00.html. Retrieved 2009-06-07. 
  53. ^ Covert, Colin (5 January 2007). "Movie review: Future shock in Children of Men". Star Tribune. 
  54. ^ Roberts, Sheila (19 December 2006). "Alfonso Cuarón Interview, Director of Children of Men". Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  55. ^ "The Connecting of Heartbeats". Nashville Scene. 1 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-15. 
  56. ^ Briggs, Caroline (20 September 2006). "Movie imagines world gone wrong". BBC. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  57. ^ Horn, John (19 December 2006). "There's no place like hell for the holidays". Los Angeles Times.,1,1219077.story?coll=la-entnews-movies. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  58. ^ a b "Framestore CFC Delivers Children of Men". VFXWorld. 16 October 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  59. ^ "Film-makers on film: Alfonso Cuarón". The Daily Telegraph. 30 September 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  60. ^ Sutherland, Claire (19 October 2006). "Clive's happy with career". Sunday Herald.,,20603665-5006023,00.html. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  61. ^ "Two Axis Dolly". Doggicam Systems. Retrieved 2007-01-24. 
  62. ^ mseymour7 (4 January 2007). "Children of Men - Hard Core Seamless vfx"., LLC. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  63. ^ Murray, Steve (29 December 2006). "Anatomy of a Scene". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 2007-01-24. 
  64. ^ Bielik, Alain (27 December 2006). "Children of Men: Invisible VFX for a Future in Decay". VFXWorld. Retrieved 2007-01-24. 
  65. ^ a b c d e f g h Crust, Kevin (7 January 2007). "Critic's Notebook; Sounds to match to the Children of Men vision". Los Angeles Times. p. E-24. 
  66. ^ Reynolds, Simon. "Reasons to Be Cheerful (Just Three)" ( – Scholar search). The Village Voice.,reynolds,75737,22.html. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  67. ^ ""Children of Men": The Repetition of the Ringing | Film International". Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  68. ^ Closed captioning at 1:40:16
  69. ^ "Programme for pass holders and the public" (PDF). Venice International Film Festival. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  70. ^ Bresnan, Conor (25 September 2006). "Around the World Roundup: "Perfume" Wafts Past "Pirates"". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  71. ^ Mohr, Ian (4 January 2007). "Men takes a bigger bow". Variety. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  72. ^ "Children of Men (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2007-02-28. 
  73. ^ "Children of Men (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  74. ^ "Children of Men (2006): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  75. ^ "Readers' Poll". Film Comment. Mar-Apr 2007. 
  76. ^ a b "Metacritic: 2006 Film Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  77. ^ "Ten Best Movies Of The Decade!". Entertainment Weekly. 12-11-2009.,,20321301_20324027_4,00.html. Retrieved 4 February 2010. 
  78. ^ "P.D. James Pleased With Film Version of Children of Men". IWJBlog. 9 January 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-07. 
  79. ^ "Scripter goes to Children of Men". The Hollywood Reporter. 13 January 2007. 
  80. ^ "Road to the Oscars 07". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2007-01-26. 
  81. ^ "Emmanuel Lubezki AMC ASC". Australian Cinematographers Society. 5 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  82. ^ "Hugo and Campbell Awards Nominations". Locus Online. 29 March 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  83. ^ "DVD - Children of Men". Monsters and Critics. Retrieved 2007-03-12. 
  84. ^ Howell, Peter (29 March 2007). "A stark prophecy". Toronto Star. 
  85. ^ "Children of Men". Retrieved 2009-08-11. 

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film
Succeeded by


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Children of Men is a 2006 dystopian science fiction film loosely based off of P.D. James' 1992 novel The Children of Men. Taking place in the United Kingdom in a future stricken with mass human infertility, it centers around the efforts to secretly smuggle a woman who is, miraculously, pregnant from London to an offshore science team working to save humanity from extinction.



  • Your baby is the miracle the whole world has been waiting for.
  • Pull my finger. (Luke shoots his finger off.) Fuck you.

Theodore Faron

  • [In car] Are we uh, planning a singalong? Good. I'm going to take a nap.
  • I can't really remember when I last had any hope, and I certainly can't remember when anyone else did either. Because really, since women stopped being able to have babies, what's left to hope for?


  • As the sound of the playgrounds faded, the despair set in. Very odd, what happens in a world without children's voices.


  • [his last line] I had a sister...


  • Day 1,000 of the Siege of Seattle.
    The Muslim community demands an end to the Army's occupation of mosques.
    The Homeland Security bill is ratified. After eight years, British borders will remain closed. The deportation of illegal immigrants will continue. Good morning. Our lead story.


Fishes member: This never fucking happened. Don't go telling tales, cause' we'll be watching you. At work. When you sleep. When you have a piss we'll be watching. All the fucking time.
Theo: Jeez, your breath stinks.
Fishes member: No it doesn't.
Theo: Yes it does.
[Theo is woken up by Kee in the car]
Kee: Hey! You're snoring.
Theo: No I wasn't.
Julian: Yes you were. He always snored.
Theo: Anyone know if there's a hotel around here?
Luke: ...What?
Theo: Julian promised me a little bit of action.
Julian: You still like it in the afternoon?
Theo: So what did you do? Blow up a building? Rob a train?
Kee: You told me he was suave.
Julian: He's suave... You should see him in the old days, he was a real activist.
Theo: Ah! You were the activist, I just wanted to get laid.
Jasper: Everything is a mythical, cosmic battle between faith and chance.
[offers Miriam a joint]
Miriam: Maybe I shouldn't.
Jasper: You already did. Take another one. Now cough. What do you taste?
Miriam: Strawberries!
Jasper: Strawberries? That's what it's called: Strawberry Cough!
Kee: Wicked!
Jasper: So. You've got faith over here, right? And chance over there.
Miriam: Like yin and yang.
Jasper: Sort of.
Miriam: Or Shiva and Shakti.
Jasper: Lennon and McCartney!
Kee: [looking at pictures] Look, Julian and Theo.
Jasper: Yeah, there you go! Julian and Theo met among a million protestors in a rally by chance. But they were there because of what they believed in in the first place, their faith. They wanted to change the world. And their faith kept them together. But by chance, Dylan was born.
Kee: [picks up another photo] This is him?
Jasper: Yeah, that's him. He'd have been about your age. Magical child. Beautiful. Their faith put in praxis.
Miriam: "Praxis"? What happened?
Jasper: Chance. He was their sweet little dream. He had little hands, little legs, little feet. Little lungs. And in 2008, along came the flu pandemic. And then, by chance, he was gone. You see, Theo's faith lost out to chance. So, why bother if life's going to make its own choices?
Kee: Baby's got Theo's eyes.
Jasper: Yeah.
Miriam: Oh, boy. That's terrible. But, you know, everything happens for a reason.
Jasper: That, I don't know. But Theo and Julian would always bring Dylan. He loved it here.

External Links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address