130 user 119 critic

The Children Act (2017)

2:27 | Trailer
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)
2,903 ( 2,544)
2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »





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


As her marriage to Jack Faye (Stanley Tucci) flounders, eminent High Court judge Fiona Maye (Dame Emma Thompson) has a life-changing decision to make at work - should she force a teenage boy, Adam Henry (Fionn Whitehead), 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 »

Did You Know?


This movie had its world premiere at the 42nd Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2017. See more »


Maye has a Fazioli baby grand piano in her home. The least expensive piano made by Fazioli has a price tag of $120,000.00. She clearly must have independent means or it would be impossible for a judge to be able to afford such a piano, especially considering her large and extremely expensive London home.

She also plays a Fazioli grand at the concert. Faziolis were introduced in the 1980s and, while being exceptionally well-made and extremely expensive, they are rare, which makes it odd to find one in both locations. This makes no sense for this story and is clearly a product placement. See more »


Fiona Maye: [kicks Jack's trolley bag to the front door] Excuse me, long day.
[walks into the study and slams the door shut]
See more »


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


Down by the Salley Gardens
written by William Butler Yeats and music by Herbert Hughes
performed by Fionn Whitehead (as Adam Henry) (Guitar), Emma Thompson (as Fiona Maye) (vocals)
See more »

User Reviews

Riveting and Emotional Performance by Emma
15 January 2019 | by Raven-1969See all my reviews

High Court judge Fiona Maye is meticulous, brief and extremely well prepared. Deviances from established protocol or the issue at hand are not tolerated for a moment. Jolts to Fiona's ordered and complex world come in the forms of a restless, bored spouse and a young man, Adam, on the verge of dying because the religious doctrine of his parents will not allow the blood transfusion he desperately needs. Inner turmoil and pent up emotions cause Fiona to act out of character and the consequences are swift and severe both in Adam's case and Fiona's personal life. In darkness and despair Fiona searches for a jewel she can hang onto.

Emma Thompson (Fiona) is amazing. Her riveting and emotional performance carries the film and moved me in ways I didn't imagine. The film title is a bit misleading. Despite reading a review in advance, I still thought the primary theme would be something of a documentary of the development or implementation of the Children Act and therefore something of a snoozeapalooza. It is nothing of the sort. While it does concern the Children Act, it is mostly a character driven drama. Any realistic portrayal of a country's justice system should be accompanied by a snooze alert, but this film is realistic enough without drifting into the realm of dreamland. The film is based on a book by Ian McEwan.

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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

14 September 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Children Act See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$76,108, 16 September 2018

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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